Blood plasma to be used for critical Covid-19 patients

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by BERNAMA

TWELVE recovered Covid-19 pandemic patients have offered to donate blood plasma, which contains antibodies against the virus.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said these former patients have undergone counselling and tests for bacterial infection or any other diseases.

“The collected blood will be then sent to the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), whereby the laboratory will study the plasma.

“If there is a situation that needs this method of treatment, then we will use the provided blood plasma. At the moment, we are still in the earlier stages of investigation whether the blood plasma can be used for treatment,” he said at the daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation yesterday.

He said it is currently too early to say if this is a viable treatment for patients.

“However, given there are stage five patients or the ones that require respiratory aid, and the hospitals truly require this method, then we will concentrate the antibody so that it can be used,” he said.

As of yesterday the amount of recovered patients surpassed the number of new cases reported, with recovered patients standing at 168, totalling to 2,276 patients that have been discharged from admission.

New cases of infection amounted to 134, taking the cumulative number of cases in the country to 4,817, of which 2,464 are currently being treated and 66 placed in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The casualty count increased by one yesterday, taking the total to 77 deaths caused by the virus, equivalent to 1.6% out of total cases in Malaysia.

Dr Noor Hisham said the lone casualty was a Malaysian man, aged 62 years old.

“He had a health history involving cardiovascular disease, hypertension and kidney disease. He attended the tabligh rally in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, and was treated at the Melaka Hospital on March 31 and passed away on April 13 at 9:15am,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has identified two sub-clusters that are interconnected in Kuantan, Pahang, following its targeted approach of detection, screening and testing of groups that are at high risk.

“The Bali person under investigation (PUI) cluster in Kuantan is one that involves a group of patients and several members of a medical centre in Kuantan.

“As of April 13, 20 people have been identified in the cluster including 14 people who are being treated at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan, two have been cured, three persons in ICU and one casualty,” he said.

He added that the index case (No 4,684) of the cluster has a travel history to Bali, Indonesia, whereby the PUI had a close contact with case No 1,575.

“The 1,575th case subsequently infected seven second-generation cases and 11 third-generation cases.

“There were 339 close contacts identified and Covid-19 screening tests were conducted, including 202 health personnel,” he said.