The Centre on Monday, May 17, dropped convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) from its list of COVID treatments. It was widely used to treat moderate coronavirus cases in hospitals. In this form of therapy, the blood plasma of a person who has recovered from the infection is used to treat patients battling the disease. The blood plasma is the liquid part of the blood.
The Union Health Ministry along with the All India Institute of Medical Science, Indian Council of Medical Research-COVID-19 National Task Force took the decision as the procedure was found to be ineffective and issued revised guidelines.
In a meeting held on May 16, members of the task force, which included scientists, top doctors, and officials, said that they were not in favour of containing this form of therapy, reported Money Control.
In its guidelines dated April 22, 2021, the ICMR included plasma therapy under treatment methods that have 'limited evidence' in support – but maybe recommended among patients with "early moderate disease", reported The Wire.
What Do Studies Have To Say?
Several research groups have found that blood plasma therapy is not effective in arresting COVID. ICMR's PLACID trial also found plasma therapy to be ineffective. The trial found that the method does not result in a reduction in progression to severe COVID-19, according to LiveMint.
Recently, some scientists and clinicians wrote to Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan, voicing their concerns over the irrational and non-scientific use of CPT for treating COVID. They argued that the current guidelines on plasma therapy, instead of being based on existing evidence, are based on very early evidence.
"The current research evidence unanimously indicates that there is no benefit offered by convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19. However, it continues to be prescribed rampantly in hospitals across India," the letter state