The government has also allowed clinical trials of anti-parasitic drug for Covid-19 treatment
The Bangladesh government has decided to apply plasma therapy to treat Covid-19 patients, if the ongoing clinical trial becomes successful.
“We are now at the trialing stage of plasma therapy. The therapy will be first applied to 45 patients and its effectiveness will be measured.,” said Habibur Rahman Khan, additional secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“If the therapy is effective enough, we will apply it to other Covid-19 patients, as part of their treatment," he added.
Habibur made the statement at a press briefing held at Bangladesh secretariat on Wednesday.
He said: “Blood samples are being collected from recovered Covid-19 patients to continue the trial.”
“Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) has started a clinical trial for Convalescent Plasma Therapy, which uses antibodies from the blood of cured patients, to treat critically ill patients,” he added.
According to the additional secretary, more than 60 countries are using plasma therapy and have achieved success.
On May 16, DMCH began collecting plasma for experimental trials and research amid the lack of drug therapies or vaccines for the highly contagious Covid-19.
The plasma samples were collected using the Apheresis machine, used to collect specific blood components such as plasma, DMCH Director Brig Gen AKM Nasir told Dhaka Tribune.
“It is only needed for critical patients (5% of total infected) who are now admitted at the ICU, and is not necessary for all Covid-19 patients,” he added.
Habibur Rahman Khan said the government has also allowed clinical trials of anti-parasitic drugs for Covid-19 treatment.
Prof Tarek Alam, a doctor of internal medicine and respiratory diseases of Bangladesh Medical College, is in charge of this clinical trial.
Prof Tarek said: “ The trial was done on over 60 coronavirus patients. After taking doxycycline with a single dose of ivermectin, the patients’ symptoms reduced by 50% in just three days and they were completely virus-free in four days.”
“If this medicine was applied earlier, we would not have lost so many lives across the country,” he added.
Habibur Rahman Khan said currently 42 labs are testing the samples. However, some of the labs have halted their operation for a day per week, none of them are allowed to be closed down permanently.
The labs will work seven days a week, 24 hours a day, he added.