Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) invented the antibody testing kit but it could not see the light because of the dilly dallying of the government. GK has lost about Tk10 crore because of this, said GK founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury.
He made the remarks while inaugurating their Plasma Center at Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital in the Dhanmondi area of the capital on Saturday.
"Following us, several countries made and marketed an antibody kit. But due to the lengthy time taken by our government, the Gonoshasthaya Kendra, as well as the country, had to face losses," said Dr Zafrullah.
"The government initially failed to do the right work and made several wrong decisions. They only focus on making policy and avoid their proper duty. Consequently, people have to suffer a lot", he added.
Attending the program as chief guest, hematologist and BMT physician of Dhaka Medical College Prof Dr MA Khan said, "In April, around 60 countries in the world introduced plasma therapy. There are two kinds of plasma therapy — plasmapheresis and plasma separation. Plasmapheresis is much more expensive than plasma separation."
Dr Khan said the GK will use the plasma separation method which will be cost effective and affordable. Therefore the common people will be able to take this therapy. This can save the lives of many elderly Covid-19 patients.
"In Bangladesh, plasma therapy is given to the patient at the eleventh hour, which is the wrong time and situation. It has to be given at an early stage of treatment", said Dr Khan.
Dr Zafrullah said, "Plasma therapy is very effective treatment as no drug has been proven to be safe and effective for treating Covid-19. When I was critically ill with Covid-19, I was given plasma therapy and as a result I recovered."
Replying to a query, he said, "Remdesivir cannot cure Covid-19. It only reduces the time of treatment."
The expert explained that a 450ml bag of blood contains approximately 200ml Red blood cells (RBC), 150ml platelets and 100ml plasma.
After taking blood from a donor who recovered from Covid-19, experts will separate the plasma in a lab and give it to a critical patient. It will build antibodies against the novel coronavirus in the patient's body.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of plasma from recovered patients to treat people who are critically ill with Covid-19. Use of plasma is an interim approach of treatment until the availability of hyper-immune globulin, drugs and vaccines.