New Delhi: A plasma bank to treat novel coronavirus started functioning in Delhi on Thursday, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying that COVID-19 patients can donate their plasma 14 days after recovery.
Addressing an online media briefing, Kejriwal said the eligibility for being a plasma donor is "very strict", and hoped that with this bank the number of COVID-19 deaths will decrease in the national capital.
The government has set up the plasma bank at the state-run Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).
The chief minister said people who have recovered from the virus can contact 1031 and WhatsApp number -- 8800007722 -- where they can get details for plasma donation. The donor will also be given an appreciation letter.
"A government doctor will contact the person willing to donate his plasma and get basic details regarding his medical history and other eligibility requirements.
"Thereafter, the person can come to ILBS to donate his plasma. The government will also bear transportation expenses ," he said.
About eligibility parameters for donors, Kejriwal said that those aged between 18 and 60 and weighing not less than 50 kg can donate their plasma.
He said that a women, who has been pregnant in her life, cannot donate plasma, adding that those people, who take insulin and their blood sugar level is not stable, also cannot be donors.
"Those, who have heart, kidney and lung disease, are not eligible to donate their plasma. People having a complaint of hypertension also cannot donate," he said.
Plasma therapy involves taking antibodies from the blood of a person who has recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing those into a coronavirus infected patient to help kickstart the immune system to fight the infection.
During the briefing, Kejriwal said that plasma bank will be successful only when people come forward to donate their plasma for coronavirus patients.
"Till yesterday, around 58,000 people have so far recovered from the virus. With very strict eligibility, a few people will be left, who can donate their plasma for COVID-19 patients," he also said.
"Plasma will be given based on doctor's prescription and the hospital concerned will have to approach ILBS to get the same. I request people to not approach the plasma bank directly," he added.