COVID-19 Casts Shadow On Stem Cell Treatment Across Country

Persons who are suffering from serious illnesses, and are in need of urgent medical attention have been pushed to the edge.

Those with serious ailments such as blood disorders have been pushed to the edge by the Covid Pandemic and lockdown as they are desperately trying to get necessary medical interventions.

About two months ago Sonia Ghakkar’s husband was diagnosed with leukemia. Bone marrow transplant is the only hope for her husband. She is desperately looking for help.

Stem cell transplant is the only cure for many patients suffering from blood disorders.

According to a hematologist, it takes months, sometimes years, to find a donor, and many “high-risk” patients have limited time left.

Transplants have come down to a meager 20 per cent nationwide, as most hospitals have postponed such processes, and prescribed additional chemotherapy sessions for the time being, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, he said.

Mumbai resident Danish Merchant had his BMT scheduled in March-end, but doctors had been postponing the process, citing logistical challenges as the reason.

Renowned hematologist and Padma Shri awardee Mammen Chandy said medical establishments have been conducting elective transplants.

“We have not stopped functioning; elective transplants are being conducted. Because of this lockdown, the blood platelet donation has also gone down. Nevertheless, all procedures are being done following the guidelines laid down to contain COVID-19,” Chandy, Director, Tata Medical Centre, told PTI from Vellore.

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