In its efforts to help patients and medical professionals across the nation to receive the required support, training and supplies to protect and heal those infected with the deadly COVID-19 virus that continues to impact the entire nation, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, is urging President Donald Trump and his Administration “to enhance the existing national registry of COVID-19 recovered patients to collect their convalescent plasma, support the creation of supply chain and implementation process in the EARLY treatment of patients infected with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presenting with hypoxia.”
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 Jan. 20, it has spread to at least half a million people in the U.S., across all 50 states, and taking the lives of over 16,000 people.
In a letter dated April 9th and signed by Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI and Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chairman on AAPI’s Adhoc Committee, representing the nearly 100,000 Physicians of Indian Origin in the United States. AAPI leaders while thanking President Trump “for guiding the FDA in launching a national effort to bring blood-related therapies for COVID-19 patients in the most expedited manner,” they reiterated the studies done on COVID-19 cases that have shown benefits of using convalescent plasma from recovered patients in combating viral infections.
In addition to the entire AAPI Executive Team, others who are signatory to the Letter included, Dr. Anith Guduri, Sub Editor; Dr. Madhavi Gorusu, Chair on AAPI Covid Plasma Donation Task Force; Dr. Rupak Parikh, CO-Chair of AAPI Covid Plasma Drive; Dr. Purvi Parikh, CO-Chair of AAPI Covid Plasma Drive; Dr. Amit Charkrabarty, CO-Chair of AAPI Covid Plasma Drive; and, Dr. Deeptha Nedunchezian, Chair, AAPI’s Education Committee.
“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, announced here.
“AAPI, would like to join your efforts in helping patients recover from this deadly illness. We would like to emphasize the benefit of giving convalescent plasma to COVID-19 patients at an EARLY stage before the onset of hypoxia and potentially before intubation at the approval of doctor and the patient being treated,” Dr. Reddy said.
“This could be a lifesaving measure as well as prevent many patients in going to need ventilator support. In Ohio on April 8, 2020 we have to take permission of the Governor to get Convalescent plasma therapy for a physician suffering from COVID -19,” Dr. Edara pointed added.
Currently in USA Comprehensive Care Partnership (CCP) requires an FDA approved Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for administration to a patient but does not require an IND for collection, manufacturing and distribution of plasma as per FDA’s April 3rd press release.
However, obtaining approval takes time and time is of essence here for saving lives in this national emergency. Blood donation centers across the U.S. are ramping up efforts to collect plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the hope it could be used to save the lives of others infected with the pandemic disease.
Some of the other effective initiatives by AAPI that include: Offering regular tele-conference calls which have been attended by over 4,000 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.
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. AAPI is planning a Virtual Candle Vigil on April 12th honoring all the Physicians and others who have lost their lives to the deadly virus.
“We would like to request you to endorse the wide implementation of plasma donation from recovering patients, enhance support to the Blood donation centers and facilitate the shortening of the time required for patient to receive the required supportive treatment,” AAPI wrote in the Letter to President Trump.
AAPI expressed confidence that the Administration will take required steps to facilitate this therapy to be widely available as a viable option in saving American lives. “Under your leadership, we can all fight this invisible enemy, COVID-19, and beat this pandemic. Thank you for your continued leadership and service to the United States of America,” Dr. Reddy said.