The U.S. has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic after reported cases surpassed those officially reported by China. Since the novel coronavirus called SARSCoV-2 was first detected in the U.S. on January 20, it has spread to more than 300,000 people in the U.S., across all 50 states.
Responding to this deadly virus, among the man other initiatives, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical association in the United States, has embarked on yet another noble mission.
“While COVID-19 continues to disrupt life around the globe, AAPI is committed to helping its tens of thousands of members across the US and others across the globe, as concerned physicians witnessing the growing COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our society, healthcare system and economy, AAPI has launched the Plasma Drive from patients who have been cured of COVID-19 and are now with no Corona-virus related symptoms for at least the past two weeks,” Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI, has announced.
Dr. Seema Arora, Chairwoman of AAPI’s BOT, pointed to some of the other effective initiatives by AAPI that include: Offering regular tele-conference calls which have been attended by over 3,000 physicians from across the United States.
AAPI has also collaborated with other national international and government organizations such as, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, National Council of Asian Indian Americans (NCAIA), GAPIO, BAPIO and Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association, in its efforts to educate and inform physicians and the public about the virus, to prevent and treat people with the affected by corona virus, according to a press release.
Another major initiative of AAPI has been the “Donate a Mask” program, under the leadership of Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President-Elect of AAPI, Dr. Sajani Shah, Chairwoman-Elect of AAPI’s BOD, and Dr. Ami Baxi.
The Task Force on Masks has been busy securing resources and identifying the hospitals and sending the supply of Masks/PPE directly to those in needed. Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda expressed great concern that “the current rate of infections will have a materially adverse effect on both our senior populations and our fellow physicians and healthcare workers who are on the front lines fighting the infection. “It’s essential to create a wholesale expansion of free COVID-19 testing available in order for identifying asymptomatic carries and then isolating them.”
Dr. Madhavi Gorusu M.D., M.B.A, President of Connecticut, Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (CAPI), who is leading the initiative on behalf of AAPI, said, “We must all stay united and support each other in every way we can to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are eligible to donate or if you know of anyone who had made a full recovery from COVID-19 and could act as a potential donor, please contact AAPI by going to its website and providing your personal details.
Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Vice president of AAPI, said, “The Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 and may be able to donate plasma to help current patients with serious or immediately life threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus.”
It is possible that convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 might be effective against the infection. Use of convalescent plasma has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients seriously ill with COVID-19, said AAPI.
The Red Cross has been asked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of these products to hospitals treating patients in need. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) plays a critical role in protecting the United States from public health threats including the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be effective in COVID-19.