Plasma therapy as treatment on COVID-19 patients has not been found effective in reducing the progression to severe disease or death and so has been dropped from the clinical management guidelines, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday, 17 May.
As the country battles the second wave of COVID-19, that is causing a monumental surge in cases and deaths, there has been a rise in demand for plasma donors.
The ICMR-National Task Force for COVID-19 took this call after several reports of patients citing its ineffectiveness and inappropriate use in several cases.
In plasma therapy, antibodies from the blood of a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 are used to treat serious patients.
The present guidelines allows for “off label” use of plasma therapy at the stage of the disease, however, several have been involved in the “irrational and non-scientific use” of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in the country.
The ICMR had said that the “indiscriminate use of Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) is not advisable,” after a randomised study found it did not lead to the reduction of the progression of severe COVID-19.
In the letter to ICMR chief Balram Bhargava and AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, a few scientists and doctors even raised caution that this could increase the possibility of more virulent strains developing due to irrational use of plasma therapy.
They pointed out that several families of patients are made to believe that this is an assured solution and so are forced to run around seeking plasma.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)