Indiscriminate Use of Plasma Therapy Not Advisable: ICMR

As a potential treatment for patients with moderate COVID-19, convalescent plasma showed limited effectiveness.

Published
India
2 min read
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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that the “indiscriminate use of Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) is not advisable,” after a new randomised study that found it did not lead to the reduction of the progression of severe COVID-19.

ICMR-led open-label phase II multicentre randomised controlled trial results were published in the British Medical Journal in late October. The study enrolled 464 adults at 39 hospitals across India between 22 April to 14 July 2020. Eighty percent of patients had already developed their own antibodies against COVID-19, before blood plasma was infused in them.

The study concluded that convalescent plasma does not reduce 28-day mortality or progression to severe disease in patients admitted to hospital with moderate COVID-19.

As a potential treatment for patients with moderate COVID-19, convalescent plasma showed limited effectiveness.

Experts on Plasma Treatment

Experts in India have long called out the lack of evidence to support this treatment.

Speaking to FIT, Dr Sumit Ray, Senior consultant of Critical Care Medicine, Holy Family Hospital, said, “The theoretical benefit of plasma therapy is in helping boost immunity if not enough is developed in the patient. However, the problem with COVID-19 is not of an inadequate immune response, but in severe patients, the immune response goes haywire.”

One of the oft-repeated lines about plasma therapy is that it has been used in other diseases and therefore is safe. “But all diseases are not the same,” said Dr Ray. “Here, you are giving plasma (which increases clotting) for a disease which is procoagulant or prone to causing clots.”

Dr Neeraj Nischal, associate professor in the department of medicine at AIIMS, in a quote to news agency PTI, had said, "This therapy also carries risks such as inadvertent transfer of blood-borne infections and reactions to serum constituents, including immunological reactions such as serum sickness, that may worsen the clinical condition."

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

(This story was first published in FIT and is being republished with permission.)

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