New York, June 18 (IANS) Administering convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients can dramatically improve likelihood of survival among blood cancer patients hospitalised with the deadly virus, according to a study.
The study led by researchers from the Washington University in the US indicates a 48 per cent reduced risk of death for Covid patients who had blood cancer and had received convalescent plasma compared to similar patients who did not receive this treatment.
The survival benefit with convalescent plasma was even greater in patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit (60 per cent reduced risk of death) and those who needed mechanical ventilation (68 per cent reduced mortality).
"These results suggest that convalescent plasma may not only help Covid-19 patients with blood cancers whose immune systems are compromised, it may also help patients with other illnesses who have weakened antibody responses to this virus or to the vaccines," said Jeffrey P. Henderson, Associate Professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at the University's School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"The study also emphasises the value of an antibody therapy such as convalescent plasma as a virus-directed treatment option for hospitalised Covid-19 patients," Henderson added. The findings are published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
The therapy involves transfusing plasma -- the pale yellow liquid in blood that is rich in antibodies -- from people who have recovered from Covid-19 into patients who have leukemia, lymphoma or other blood cancers and are hospitalised with the viral infection. The goal is to accelerate their disease-fighting response. Cancer patients may be at a higher risk of death related to Covid-19 because of their weakened immune systems.
The team studied 143 patients who received convalescent plasma, and 823 who did not. Of the 338 patients admitted to ICUs because of severe Covid-19 symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or cardiac distress, those who received the treatment were more than twice as likely to survive.
In March 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration approved convalescent plasma therapy to Covid patients if requested by their physicians.
Last month the Indian Council of Medical Research dropped the plasma therapy as Covid-19 treatment, citing no significant benefit.
Hanoi, June 18 (IANS) Vietnam reported 515 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, the highest daily increase since the pandemic hit the country last year, according to its Ministry of Health.The infections included 503 locally transmitted and 12 imported cases, bringing the total tally to 12,150, the ministry said.Among the community cases, 495 were reported in quarantine facilities or lockdown areas. In terms of localities, 327 were detected in the northern epidemic hotspot Bac Giang province, 137 in the southern Ho Chi Minh City, and 13 in the southern Tien Giang province, the Xinhua news agency reported.Most of them are contacts of previously confirmed cases or linked to the clusters of infections in the localities.In a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Ho Chi Minh City, where nearly 1,200 new community cases have been reported in the ongoing outbreak, plans to administer over 800,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines for prioritized groups within one week starting from Saturday.Nationwide, as many as 4,653 Covid-19 patients have so far recovered, up 63 from Wednesday, and nearly 182,500 people are being quarantined and monitored.As of Thursday, Vietnam has registered a total of 10,483 domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases, including 8,913 detected since the start of the latest outbreak in late April, according to the health ministry. --IANSint/rs
London, June 15 (IANS) A team of scientists has identified how and why some Covid-19 patients can develop life-threatening blood clots.The study, led by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), found the balance between a molecule that causes clotting called the von Willebrand Factor (VWF) and its regulator, ADAMTS13, is severely disrupted in Covid patients who had elevated levels of the VWF protein.The ADAMTS13 gene provides instructions for making an enzyme that is involved in regulating blood clotting, while VWF is a large multimeric glycoprotein in plasma. Deficiency or dysfunction of VWF can lead to either bleeding or thrombosis.The findings could lead to targeted therapies that prevent such clots happening in future, the BBC reported. The study is published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis."Our research helps provide insights into the mechanisms that cause severe blood clots in patients with Covid-19, which is critical in developing more effective treatments," said Dr Jamie O'Sullivan, a research lecturer at the RCSI.She said more research needed to be done to determine whether targets aimed at correcting the levels of ADAMTS 13 and VWF can lead to successful interventions."It is important that we continue to develop therapies for patients with Covid-19," O'Sullivan said."Vaccines will continue to be unavailable to many people throughout the world and it is important that we provide effective treatments to them and to those with breakthrough infections," she added.For the study, the team analysed samples from Covid-19 patients in intensive care in the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.--IANSrvt/vd
New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) While the number of new Covid-19 infections in India has seen a decline in recent days, the high mortality rate remains a cause of concern.Most of the deaths, which are happening now, are cases that were admitted to intensive care units in the last week of May, experts said on Tuesday.India's daily Covid caseload continues to fall with the country recording 60,461 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest since March 29. Yet the number of deaths remains high. The last 24 hours saw 2,726 persons succumbing to the virus, as per the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday."Our Covid-19 peak was in the second week of May 2021. During the peak, admissions to MICU (medical intensive care unit) were the highest. Most of the deaths which are happening now are cases that were admitted to MICU two to three weeks earlier (third week of May)," Aravinda G.M., Consultant Physician (internal medicine) at the Manipal Hospital, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, told IANS."This time the severity of the disease was also very high, i.e., lung involvement was very severe. These severe cases were in ICU for a longer period of time. Now even the number of cases is low, but the mortality rate among these cases are very high," said Vikas Maurya, Director and HOD, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.In terms of infection, India has witnessed a decline in daily Covid cases by up to 85 per cent since the highest daily tally was registered on May 7 at 4,14,188.The country's overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,95,70,871, with 3,77,031 deaths so far.Presently, Karnataka has the highest number of active cases in the country at 1,80,856, followed by Maharashtra at 1,58,617 and Tamil Nadu at 1,49,927. These three states account for nearly 50 per cent of active cases in the country.Maharashtra has the highest death rate of 1.90 per cent with a toll of 1,12,696 till date. The state is followed by Karnataka which has reported 33,033 Covid fatalities so far."This time the wave came rapidly with a steep rise in the number of cases. Also, the volume of cases with severe disease was very high," Maurya told IANS."Probably in the next two weeks, a gradual decline in Covid deaths is expected to be seen in India. Also, more cases were noticed in the Tier-II cities, where hospitals that provide tertiary healthcare are few," Aravinda noted.Meanwhile, the overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 176 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 3.80 million, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest update on Tuesday.The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 33,473,180 and 599,928, respectively. In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 29,510,410 cases.In terms of mortality, Brazil comes second with 488,228 fatalities, followed by India with 374,305 deaths.--IANSrvt/arm
Mumbai, June 14 (IANS) Maharashtra's Covid-19 deaths remained in the higher range even as new infections dropped below the 10,000 level, and the number of patients cured increased, health officials said here on Monday.Compared with the peak of 2,771 deaths declared on Sunday, the state revealed 1,592 fatalities (comprising 200 new, and 1,392 earlier deaths), taking its toll to 112,696.The number of fresh cases dropped from 10,442 on Sunday to 8,120, sending the tally to 59,17,121 now.In Mumbai, for the 18th consecutive day, new infections remained below the four figure level, decreasing from 695 on Sunday to 530, to send the city tally to 716,190 till date. Daily deaths remained stable at 19 for the second day, and the total fatalities in the country's commercial capital rose to 15,202.The number of active cases fell from 155,588 to 147,354 now, while 14,732 fully cured patients -- higher than the number of fresh infections -- returned home, taking the total to 56,54,003 and the recovery rate rising from 95.44 per cent to 95.55 per cent.The Mumbai Circle - comprising Mumbai, Thane, Palghar,and Raigad districts - recorded a fall in new cases from 2,056 to 1,457, sending its caseload rising to 15,64,779 and with 30 more deaths, the toll rose to 30,601.Meanwhile, the number of people in home isolation stood at 949,251 now, and of those in institutional quarantine at 5,997.--IANSqn/vd
New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Facebook on Monday urged people to donate blood and encourage friends and family to do the same, as part of its campaign for the World Blood Donor Day.World Blood Donor Day is held on June 14 each year.Facebook launched its blood donations feature in 2017 in India. Since then, 60 million people have signed up to receive notifications about donating blood. Globally, over 100 million people have signed up to be blood donors on Facebook since 2017."Facebook's blood donation tool helps connect blood banks with donors to ensure a steady supply of safe blood to those in need especially in these unprecedented times. In India, over 60 million Facebook users have signed up to receive blood donation notifications from blood banks. As part of World Blood Donor Day, we encourage everyone to not only sign up to be a blood donor, but share their experience to inspire others to do the same," said Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India, in a statement.The Blood Donations feature on the social networking site is a useful tool that connects people to their local blood banks, so they know when there is a shortage and where it is safe to donate.People can sign up to receive notifications about donating blood on Facebook by going to Blood Donations in the 'About' section of their profile. When blood donation centers need donors, they can request donations and send notifications to those nearby who have signed up. People will be able to see requests and opportunities to donate on http://facebook.com/donateblood."We have been using the FB Blood Donation Tool since May 2018. With online mode in place, it's getting easier to find particular group donors through our Facebook posts, which automatically notifies the blood donors. With the reach of the platform and high engagement on the posts, it has become quicker to spread the word in the community," said Dr. Aditi Kumar, Founder, Aarohi Blood Bank, Hyderabad, Telangana.As countries around the world continue to grapple with the ongoing Covid pandemic, blood banks are in urgent need of blood donors.Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has also urged fans to donate blood through a video message by speaking about a personal incident and leveraging the power of Facebook communities to reach a wider audience.Covid-19 has intensified India's problem of chronic blood shortage due to lockdown, and fear of infection. In April, last year, the Indian Red Cross Society had raised an alarm that voluntary donation had fallen by almost 100 per cent."Globally, 42 per cent of blood is collected in high-income countries, which are home to just 16 per cent of the world's population. In lower-middle-income countries, the median blood donation rate is 6.8 per 1000 people. In low-income countries, it is five," according to Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia."We can all contribute. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, regular blood donors have continued to give, despite limited mobility and other challenges. Their extraordinary effort has increased health system resilience and must be celebrated for what it is -- a lifesaving gift, and an expression of human solidarity. Throughout the Covid-19 response, but also beyond it, every person's contribution takes us one step closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage, the Flagship Priority and Sustainable Development Goal target that underpins all others," she added.--IANSrvt/sdr/