Plasma Therapy Not Approved As COVID-19 Treatment, Use Only For Trial: ICMR

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Plasma Therapy Not Approved As COVID-19 Treatment, Use Only For Trial: ICMR

The statement comes at a time when the therapy is being considered as a potential treatment against the deadly virus and hospitals across several states have started applying for permission to the ICMR to start plasma therapy.

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The Union Health Ministry, on Tuesday, warned that plasma therapy is not an approved method for treating the coronavirus and should be used for research and trial purposes.

Stressing on the fact that since convalescent plasma therapy does not have sufficient proof to substantiate its effectiveness, the Joint Secretary to the Union Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal, said that such treatments can be life-threatening if proper procedures are not followed.

"The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already stated very clearly that currently there are no approved therapies for COVID-19, including plasma therapies. Plasma therapies are being experimented with; however, there is no evidence to support that it can be used in treatment yet," said Agarwal.

The nodal body overseeing the coronavirus situation in the country has launched a national study to understand the effectiveness of plasma therapy as a treatment for COVID-19.

Agarwal also mentioned that unless robust proof is available, it should be considered only for research or for trial purposes.

"Plasma therapy can have serious life-threatening complications if proper procedure and guidelines are not followed," he added. "Any treatment done without the ICMR's approval is illegal," he added.

The statement comes at a time when the therapy is being considered as a potential treatment against the deadly virus and hospitals across several states have started applying for permission to the ICMR to start plasma therapy.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves injecting patients with plasma from people who have recovered. The antibodies in the plasma of a recovered patient aids in recovering a sick person.

According to the standards, a trial is conducted to test if a particular drug or therapy is safe and effective. If the result is positive, the drugs and therapies are then sent to drug regulatory bodies for approval, after which they become part of standard treatments.

On April 14, Delhi's Max Healthcare's Saket hospital had used plasma therapy on a Covid-19 patient making it the first instance in the country. The hospital administered plasma to a critically ill Covid-19 patient, who was on a ventilator. It sought and received approval on compassionate grounds.

Several states including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka have also sought permission from ICMR to treat critically-ill COVID-19 patients with this therapy.

Also Read: 'India Should Be Placed On Religious Freedom Blacklist': US Panel

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