‘Plasma Therapy Dropped From Covid-19 Treatment Protocol’: ICMR

New Delhi : India on Monday dropped convalescent plasma therapy from the list of treatments prescribed for the management of adult coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, a move that triggered growing evidence against the therapy benefiting Covid-19 patients in any way.

The revised guidelines jointly issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-Covid-19 National Task Force, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and Union ministry of health and family welfare, do not mention the use of convalescent plasma therapy.

Convalescent plasma therapy uses a blood component called plasma rich in virus-fighting antibodies from recovered Covid-19 patients to aid the immune system in fighting off the infection.

The data from the PLACID trial by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that was conducted at 39 centres across India, was released in September last year, found that the therapy did not prevent progression to severe disease or reduce the number of deaths at 28-days of enrolment of the patient.

“ICMR has made it public in the past also that the therapy isn’t of much use based on the evidence that we have, and the earlier revised guidelines were also drastically modified for reference of those wanting to administer it, with clear cut dos and don’ts mentioned under which it can be given. But now it has been deleted from the list of therapies altogether,” said one of the members of the National Task Force, who is aware of the matter, requesting anonymity.

“The decision was arrived at after members underwent a detailed deliberation on the matter, going through all the evidence at their disposal from India and abroad. It was a well-thought-out decision, especially with reports of indiscriminate use of plasma therapy having come to light at some places,” the member added.

The earlier guidelines allowed its off-label use which means there was limited available evidence, and only in specific circumstances.

It was allowed to be used among patients having an early moderate disease (preferably within 7 days of symptom onset), with the availability of high titre donor plasma. It was clearly mentioned that the therapy had no use after 7 days.

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