Bengaluru: For the first time, a plasma bag was airlifted from Bengaluru to Srinagar on Tuesday morning to save a 60-year-old covid-19 patient. The woman is in the ICU at a government hospital in Srinagar, about 3,000km from the IT city of Bengaluru.

Doctors who coordinated the operation of sending the plasma from a recovered covid patient told Mint that on Sunday the family of a 60-year-old woman in Srinagar got in touch with HCG hospitals in Bengaluru, which is coordinating the plasma donation for Karnataka. The units were transported in an insulated box with frozen gel packs, and reached the Srinagar hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

The work to get government permissions and do the blood grouping was completed in less than 24 hours, and the Bengaluru airport and Indigo airlines made the arrangements to transport the life-saving bag of plasma. In early August, plasma was transported by road from Bengaluru to Chennai by creating a green corridor similar to the ones done for organ transplants.

India’s covid-19 case count stands at 36.9 lakh with 65,288 deaths. As many as 64,921 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours across the country.

Convalescent plasma transfusion (CPT) involves administering the plasma of a person who has recovered from covid-19 to a person suffering from effects of the disease. Antibodies developed by the recovered patient and present in the plasma aid in the recovery.

“At a time when the medical community is looking at possibilities to save lives of seriously ill covid-19 patients, plasma therapy is one of the promising lines of treatment,” said Dr U.S. Vishal Rao, associate dean, HCG. “The creation of a successful air corridor opens up new possibilities for the treatment of patients with covid-19.”

The Covid India Campaign in association with HCG hospital and the Karnataka government manages a website and hotline number to identify plasma donors. Volunteers contact donors, collect relevant information, and forward the same to the medical team, who check eligibility and screen the donor before collecting the plasma.

A number of states in India have been using plasma therapy for the last few months. Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration authorised the use of plasma therapy for the treatment of covid-19 patients.

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