Panaji: Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday (July 8) said the state will start using the convalescent plasma therapy for treating COVID-19 patients from next week.

The state government has already sanctioned funds required to procure the necessary machinery for the plasma therapy, Rane told reporters in Panaji.

"The plasma therapy treatment will start in Goa from next week onwards," he said.

The state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) has been given the responsibility of collecting blood plasma from those who have recovered from the coronavirus infection, the minister said.

"I have been following the issue of introducing plasma therapy in the state since the last one month. We have all the infrastructure required to store plasma,” he said.

“We will start the plasma therapy for serious patients. I have spoken to some patients from Delhi who had taken the plasma therapy and have recovered, to know their experience,” he said.

Rane said only GMCH will be allowed to conduct the plasma therapy in the state. “We are taking up the latest methods of treatment for COVID-19 patients.”

Till Tuesday, Goa reported 1,903 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths due to the disease. Rane said as of now, 106 symptomatic patients were undergoing treatment at the Margao-based ESI Hospital, a specially designated facility for COVID-19 patients.

Ruling out any shortage of beds at the hospital, he said those who are asymptomatic have already been moved to COVID care centres set up across the state.

"Beds are available in the ESI Hospital and if required, we can have a second such hospital in the state,” he said.

Rane said his department has proposed to the government to explore the possibility of outsourcing some services at COVID care centre, like food supply, to private parties.

"We can’t load the existing government infrastructure to look after COVID care centres. We will have to see how much cost it will incur, if we engage private players to handle these centres. This will help in better management of the COVID care centres,” he said.