Convalescent Plasma Therapy: A New Clinical Trial Starts at Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

Source: AKU press release

May 19, 2020

A new clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of plasma therapy, an emerging form of treatment for the coronavirus, in Pakistani COVID patients is underway at Aga Khan University.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves separating blood donated by previous COVID patients into plasma: a clear straw-coloured liquid that contains antibodies and proteins that help fight infections. The plasma is then injected into a severely ill COVID patient whose immune system may not be able to generate the antibodies needed to combat the virus. A single donation can potentially treat two patients.
There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus and no approved form of treatment beyond managing its symptoms. The trial will generate evidence on whether plasma therapy, the only experimental treatment currently available for the virus, can help treat those suffering from acute complications from the virus.
Researchers will perform three pre-procedural investigations on each donor to ensure their blood is safe from other infections and to check their suitability for the process of apheresis which collects plasma. Like a typical blood donation, the process is painless after the initial prick and lasts approximately two hours.
Once plasma is transfused into a patient, the team will monitor the response to the treatment and assess its effectiveness through clinical and laboratory tests. Informed consent will be sought from all potential donors as well as those receiving the treatment.
“Plasma therapy can potentially help treat patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infection,” said Dr Natasha Ali, who is part of a team of six faculty from the departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Internal Medicine, working on the trial. “This trial is part of the University’s science-based approach to evaluating novel treatments that can help save lives during this pandemic.”
The University is also participating in Solidarity, the international clinical trial launched by the World Health Organization and its partners, to find effective treatments for the coronavirus.
The study has been approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and Pakistan’s National Bioethics Committee.

Support AKU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

AKU is on the front lines of the response to this unprecedented health challenge. Their dedicated physicians, nurses and other medical staff are working tirelessly to save lives.
You can support their efforts to secure specialised medical equipment, provide testing and life-saving care to the vulnerable through our Patient Welfare Programme, and address the needs of our physicians and healthcare personnel during this extraordinary time.

The COVID-19 Fund would support the following:

  • Providing world-class medical care, including for disadvantaged patients through AKU’s Patient Welfare Programme;
  • Securing specialised equipment including ventilators and personal protective gear for their staff;
  • Changes to their hospital and University facilities to expand AKU’s capacity to respond effectively to this emergency;
  • Research by their infectious disease specialists, and others, that contributes to the global effort to deliver better diagnostics for COVID-19 and care for those infected;
  • Support for AKU’s staff who are working exceedingly long hours, and need accommodation and other essential support.​

Click link to donate:



Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.