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SKIMS installs machine for conducting plasmapheresis for COVID-19 patients

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Srinagar: Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura on Wednesday claimed to have installed “sophisticated machinery” for conducting plasmapheresis for COVID-19 patients.

“With these sophisticated machines, we would be now able to conduct plasmapheresis for COVID-19 patients with some precision,” Director, SKIMS and Ex-Officio Secretary to government, Dr A.G Ahangar said in a press release issued by SKIMS.

He said that SKIMS has started plasmapheresis—using Spectra Optia Cell Separator plasmapheresis machine which is the state-of-art machine used for plasmapheresis in COVID patients.

“The machine was procured on a war-footing basis to combat the COVID-19 crisis and the machine is fitted with a highly sophisticated connector device,” he said.

Plasmapheresis has been used on a trial basis for COVID-19 patients and has shown promising results.

Plasmapheresis is a process in which the liquid part of the blood, or plasma, is separated from the blood cells. Typically, the plasma is replaced with another solution such as saline or albumin, or the plasma is treated and then returned to the patient’s body.

The press release said that plasma therapy was started for COVID patients about a month back at SKIMS.

The Director said that the use of this machine is ideal for the extraction of plasma in donors who have recovered from this disease. He said that plasmapheresis helps to extract more plasma per operation and returns the blood cells of the donor to him/her.

“This way more plasma can be extracted and one-time a donor can donate for 2 patients. Since only plasma is used, a donor can donate plasma more frequently,” Dr Ahangar said.

Today, for the first time the procedure of plasmapheresis was done on a doctor who had come to SKIMS Blood Bank as a volunteer plasma donor.

“Installation of this machine has brought SKIMS at par with leading institutions of the country which are leading from front on plasma therapy for COVID patients. It is the first step towards the establishment of a plasma bank in Kashmir,” press release quoted Prof Rumana Makhdoomi, who heads Blood Transfusion departments at SKIMS as saying.

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