What is Plasma Therapy?
India is all set to try out a therapy that involves attempting to jump-start the immunity of a serious patient by infusing some of the blood plasma of a person who has already recovered from the disease. This is called convalescent plasma therapy and has in the past been used in many other diseases.
What is convalescent plasma therapy?
- Convalescent plasma therapy, which was recently allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for investigation purposes – clinical trials etc in a regulated way – involves transfusion of the blood plasma of a recovered patient into another patient.
- Plasma is the matrix on which the blood cells float. It also houses crucial components of immunity known as antibodies.
- Antibodies are the immediate warriors who fight an invading pathogen – an antigen – to defeat it. Once that is done, some blood cells function as memory cells so that they can identify and defeat the same enemy if and when it invades again by quickly producing the same antibodies.
How does it work?
- Convalescent plasma therapy banks on the age-old concept of passive immunity when antibodies for some diseases, such as diphtheria, were developed in horses and injected into humans.
- Active immunity is what is achieved by introducing an attenuated pathogen (such as the BCG vaccine) into the body to generate an immune response. The other kind of immunity is passive immunity.
- Temporary immunity can be achieved in a person without injecting any antigen. This is done by infusing antibodies, activated T cells or both obtained from the blood of someone else or from some other animal that has been actively immunised against these antigens.
- These antibodies last for two-three weeks and during that time, the person is protected against the invading disease. Activated T cells last for a few weeks if transfused from another person and for a few hours to a few days if transfused from an animal. Such transfusion of antibodies or lymphocytes to confer immunity is called passive immunity.
- T-cells are blood cells that have a crucial role in immunity.
It has been tried for several diseases, most recently for Ebola. The WHO had issued a detailed guidance document for its use in the wake of the Ebola outbreak, to be used as an “empirical treatment modality”.
Homeopathy and Telemedicine
An international webinar was organised by the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) under the Ministry of AYUSH on 10th April 2020 on World Homoeopathy Day, commemorating the 265th birth anniversary of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homoeopathy.
What is ‘telemedicine’?
- Telemedicine is the use of electronic information to communicate technologies to provide and support healthcare when distance separates the participants.
- Telemedicine has a variety of applications in patient care, education, research, administration and public health.
- Worldwide, people living in rural and remote areas struggle to access timely, good-quality specialty medical care. Residents of these areas often have substandard access to specialty healthcare, primarily because specialist physicians are more likely to be located in areas of concentrated urban population. Telemedicine has the potential to bridge this distance and facilitate healthcare in these remote areas.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Telemedicine as, “The delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.”
What is ‘Homeopathy’?
Homeopathy, also known as homeopathic medicine, is a medical system that was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. It is based on two unconventional theories –
- “Like cures like”—the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people.
- “Law of minimum dose”—the notion that the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Many homeopathic products are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain.
BRO opens strategic Srinagar-Let Highway
Border Roads Organisation has opened strategic Srinagar-Leh Highway the connects Ladakh with the rest of the world.
About BRO –
- Functioning under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 2015 (earlier functioning under the Ministry of Road, Transports and Highways).
- The BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country.
- It is staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Military Police and army personnel on extra regimental employment.
- Engineering Service and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
- Currently, the organisation maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
About Zojila Pass –
- Zozila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off Leh-Ladakh region from Kashmir.
- The Union Cabinet has approved the construction of Asia’s longest bi-directional Zojila Pass tunnel, a 14.2-km long tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.