Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday inaugurated project PLATINA, the world's largest convalescent plasma therapy trial-cum-project for the treatment of critical COVID-19 patients. The state's medical education and drugs department launched the convalescent plasma therapy after receiving all necessary approvals. Maharashtra government has allocated Rs 16.85 crore for the project through CM Cares Fund.
Convalescent plasma therapy, also known as passive antibody therapy, seeks to obtain plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from the infection to inject into patients undergoing treatment.
In absence of any drugs for COVID-19, convalescent plasma therapy is now being considered as one of the most important methods in the treatment of critical coronavirus patients, says the state health department. Through the project PLATINA, the state government intends to save lives of some 500 critical COVID-19 patients.
"The project, titled ''Platina'', is the largest convalescent plasma therapy-cum-trial project in the world. With it, we intend to save lives of some 500 critical COVID-19 patients. The trial will be held in 17 medical colleges under the department of medical education and drugs, and four BMC- run colleges in Mumbai," the official said.
All critical patients will receive two doses of 200 ml convalescent plasma free of cost, the official added.
Maharashtra, which has been worst affected by coronavirus pandemic, has been working on plasma therapy since the beginning of the COVID-19 fight, but now it will be a formal trial- treatment project across the state, said Maharashtra minister and the CM's son Aditya Thackeray.
Taking to Twitter, Aditya said the trial treatment of the therapy will be free of cost in 17 medical colleges across the state. He said this move will not only give the world a large robust data for plasma therapy treatment but will also help the government to create infrastructure for this therapy across the state.
"The entire funding to support this plasma therapy trial has been done through the CM Relief fund and we hope this will be a landmark trial in the global fight against the covid pandemic," Aditya Thackeray tweeted.
In a separate development, Maharashtra government has extended the coronavirus lockdown in the state till July 31 amid rise in the number of COVID cases.
Maharashtra is one of the worst-hit states with over 1.6 lakh positive COVID-19 cases, including 70,622 active cases, 86,575 discharges and 7,429 deaths. On Sunday, the state recorded its highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases, with 5,493 fresh cases taking its total case tally to 1,64,626. This was the third straight daily spike of more than 5,000 cases reported by the State, with 5,318 cases being recorded on Saturday and 5,024 cases on Friday.
By Chitranjan Kumar with PTI inputs