A medical worker stands by as people line up to have their samples collected for nucleic acid testing in Shufu County of Kashgar Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Oct. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Hu Huhu)
In an all-out effort to save lives, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has added convalescent plasma therapy to its range of treatments for severe COVID-19 patients, according to local health officials.
A multi-disciplinary approach combining traditional Chinese and Western medicine has been adopted by frontline health workers, based on the individual condition of each case, said Yang Yining, a member of the medical team designated by the local epidemic prevention and control headquarters.
Yang said the region currently holds sufficient reserves of convalescent plasma to treat all severe cases, and every effort is being made to prevent mild cases from worsening.
Convalescent plasma therapy has proven its effectiveness in COVID-19 treatment in China and abroad. Last month, the National Health Commission (NHC) urgently allocated 9,000 milliliters of convalescent plasma to east China's Qingdao to tackle an outbreak there.
By Sunday, Xinjiang had a total of 57 confirmed cases, including nine in a severe condition, as well as 223 asymptomatic cases. Notably, all virus-carriers in Xinjiang were identified during free nucleic acid tests organized by the local government.
Zhang Long, deputy director of the disease control center in the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin, led a team to help with local testing in Shufu County of Kashgar Prefecture, where most of the new cases were reported. He said his team alone conducted over 7,000 tests from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, as part of the third round of tests in the county.
"By conducting rounds of testing, those infected could be screened out in the shortest possible time, winning more time for their treatment," said Zhang.
Gu Yingsu, deputy director of the regional health commission, said that the NHC recently dispatched its first group of medical experts to Xinjiang to help with the outbreak, and they have been conducting joint consultations on all confirmed cases.
Meanwhile, four experts sent by the NHC have conducted comprehensive training on in-hospital infection control in the region's designated COVID-19 hospitals, as well as setting up a control system in the hospitals to ensure the safety of health workers, said Lu Chen, deputy director of a designated COVID-19 hospital in Xinjiang.
Lu added that all the current frontline workers fought in the previous epidemic wave that hit Xinjiang in July, so they have enough experience to deal with this new round of the fight.