Suffering with COVID-19, Indian Americans looking for blood plasma donors: SEWA International

indica News Bureau-

Rohan Bavadekar, a 42-year-old from Houston, is fighting for his life on a ventilator in St. Luke’s hospital in the state of Texas after being diagnosed with COVID 19. At home, his wife Manasi and three young children, who wait for Bavadekar’s return have also contracted the virus.

Achalesh Amar. Director of Disaster Relief at Sewa International a leading Indian-American non-profit organization helping several patients across the US told indica there are over 20 Indian origin people in the US who have tested positive for COVID-19, including the three who are in a critical condition.

Amar told indica COVID infected patients are based not just in Houston but in California, New York Massachusetts and Colorada.

Amar said they have been looking for potential Blood Plasma donors.

Bavadekar, 42, an IT professional contracted the disease due to his recent travel history and his wife Manasi and three children have also tested positive for the deadly virus and are quarantined at their home.

Manasi posted on Facebook, April 3,  thanking the community wrote: “Rohan has received the first round of Plasma, we are in need of more as Rohan’s medical team has advised second Plasma transfusion as soon as possible.”

The families of Bavadekar, and Lavanga Veluswamy, a doctor, made an urgent appeal for blood donation from anyone who has recently recovered from COVID-19. A doctor and an IT professional were among the three Indian Americans who have tested positive for novel coronavirus in Houston in the this week and are in a critical condition.

Manasi and Dr Veluswamy’s wife, who herself is a physician, urged on Facebook for blood donation with group A or AB for their coronavirus-infected husbands.

The third Indian-American who is in the critical stage preferred to stay anonymous and is waiting for the plasma transfusion for the treatment at Memorial Hermann hospital here.

Doctors at the St Lukes and Memorial Hermann, said, that someone who has recovered from COVID-19 in the past two weeks and is now healthy would be the right match for the blood donation. They added that the hospitals are trying their best to find a plasma match.

Houston Methodist Hospital is the first hospital in the US to experiment with convalescent serum therapy for COVID-19 treatment.

“Convalescent serum therapy could be a vital treatment route because unfortunately there is relatively little to offer many patients except supportive care, and the ongoing clinical trials are going to take a while,” Dr. Eric Salazar, a physician-scientist with Methodist’s Research Institute, said in a statement.

“We don’t have that much time.”

The Houston Methodist organization has also issued a helpline number 346.238.4360 for those who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus to help other patients.

” Houston Methodist is seeking patients who have recovered from proven COVID-19 infection to donate their blood plasma. Plasma from a healthy, recovered patient contains antibodies that kill the virus and have the potential to heal and potentially save the life of a hospitalized COVID-19 patient”, read the helpline poster.

It further provided guidelines saying that eligible plasma donors include both Houston Methodist patients with proven COVID-19 infection and patients treated outside of Houston Methodist for COVID-19. If treated for COVID-19 outside of Houston Methodist, recovered patients need to provide a proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test result. Patients with certain underlying medical conditions and advanced age are not eligible to donate.

The plasma donation procedure is similar to donating blood and takes about an hour. Unlike regular blood donation, plasma can be donated as often as twice a week, stated the poster.

Sewa International told indica they have been collecting information of all potential donors and only the doctors can say if the donor matches or not after due testing and evaluation.

Amar said. “Only the patients who need critical care need plasma. If you look at the numbers, more that 82% percent people would recover from the virus on their own.”

SEWA has appealed to the entire community through its 40-plus chapters in the US and through Facebook for the donation of plasma for the treatment.

Hoping for a miracle and supporting all Indian Americans at these testing times is SEWA- an Indian American Hindu faith group based in Texas that is lending a helping hand.

“Sewa is providing non-medical service and support to Rohan’s family by providing prepared food, groceries, medicines and emotional support,” Gitesh Desai – President, Sewa Houston Chapter

SEWA International has so far raised more than USD 250,000 for its COVID-19 relief efforts.

It is using the money to buy personal protective equipment, in particular, facial masks and surgical masks, to donate free to the local law enforcement officials and hospitals in some of the hot spot areas like New York, who have run out of these essential items.

It has built a team of 500 volunteers, who have been manning its helpline to address the concerns and questions of Americans in distress due to coronavirus.

Its volunteers are helping more than 300 families, many of whom are elderly or those of the doctors engaged in the treatment of the COVID-19 patients, with their daily groceries and masks, said Sree N Sreenath, president of the SEWA International.

SEWA has appealed to the entire community through its 40-plus chapters in the US and through Facebook for the donation of plasma for the treatment.