Some private hospitals have started paying premium prices for blood plasma donors who have recovered from the virus, MP Khaled Mashhour said on Saturday. Those hospitals then sell the plasma to critical cases at a very high cost.
Mashhour has submitted a request in the parliament to summon Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Minister of Health Hala Zayed to clarify the progress of blood plasma treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement on Saturday, Mashhour noted that private hospitals and laboratories are taking advantage of the crisis to make financial gains. This comes despite the Ministry of Health’s announcement that private hospitals and laboratories are not authorised to get blood plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus.
On Saturday, Egypt reported 1,677 new coronavirus cases, and 62 new deaths, marking the highest daily count to date. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 42,980 cases, with 1,484 fatalities. A total of 11,529 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the scientific committee to combat the coronavirus, Hossam Hosni, said clinical trials using plasma from recovered patients as treatment for active patients are promising. He added, however, that the trials are still ongoing, with final results yet to be announced.
In a phone call to MBC Masr on Friday evening, Hosni added that blood plasma is only used as a treatment for some critical and pre-critical cases. This step occurs before they are placed on a ventilator.
The plasma treatment is also used to treat patients who have been placed on a ventilator, but within the first 48 hours of their placement on the ventilator, he said. Blood plasma is not used as a treatment for simple or medium cases, he noted.
Last week, Minister of Health Hala Zayed announced that Egypt’s scientific committee to combat the coronavirus had set specific regulations for recovered patients to donate blood plasma.
Zayed added that blood plasma from each donor can help treat 10 critical cases. She explained that this sort of treatment relies on the presence of antibodies that help critical cases to heal and recover.
Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said in media statements on Friday evening that the daily number of infections is the government’s main indicator on whether to ease precautionary measures or not.
Saad added that the increasing demand for medicines has resulted in a shortage of some drugs. He mentioned that the government requested pharmaceutical companies to ramp up their production lines to meet the growing demand.