Sindh government approves trial of passive immunisation to treat coronavirus patients


KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday approved efforts to experiment with the use of passive immunisation therapies to treat coronavirus patients across the province.

The technique, supervised by hematologist Tahir Shamsi, will also be presented to other provinces for approval before a detailed strategy regarding it can be implemented in hospitals across the country.

“Under this technique, blood plasma from a healthy person is extracted and injected into the blood of a patient suffering from the coronavirus,” Shamsi said on Monday.

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“After the transfer, the injected plasma generates anti-bodies in the immune system of the patient suffering from the coronavirus. These anti-bodies eventually fight off the virus,” he added.

No vaccine available to treat deadly virus yet

Health experts say this technique is used when there is a high risk of infection and insufficient time for the body to develop its own immune response, or to reduce the symptoms of ongoing diseases.

Currently, there are no vaccines or proven therapies available for the coronavirus, which has the potential to affect millions of people. The virus has already affected close to 800,000 across the globe. 

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It has also led to more than 37,000 deaths worldwide, hitting the continent of Europe especially hard. The United States last week became the most-affected country by the virus.

Although the virus first emerged in China, the Chinese government successfully subdued the outbreak in the epicenter of Wuhan through unprecedented measures, including a massive lockdown.

US President Donald Trump announced last week that chloroquine, an old malaria drug, has shown “very very encouraging results” in treating the mysterious disease.

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An official at China’s science and technology ministry, Zhang Xinmin, has said that a drug in Japan, called favipiravir, is also effective against the disease as it has produced satisfactory outcomes in trials.

Medical practitioners in the United States are also convinced about the efficacy of the passive immunisation technique. A plan has been presented to the Trump administration in this regard as well.

With additional input from AFP