With no effective drugs to annihilate the virus, umpteen medical interventions are being deployed for treating the infected patients. Touted as one of the most effective procedures earlier, convalescent plasma therapy has now been struck off from the new COVID management protocol issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research. This decision has been propelled by the recommendation of experts, who concluded that the procedure had no substantial effects on disease advancement and the fatality rate.
No strong evidence to support the effectiveness of the therapy
The new treatment protocol was declared on Monday after a meeting of the ICMR National Task Force on Covid-19. All attendees at the gathering opted for removing the plasma therapy from the guidelines, which prompted the body to take this decision. Further, it has also pointed out by certain reports that wrong and inappropriate use of plasma is correlated with the emergence of new variants, which can be more virulent.
Based on the inferences that negate the efficacy of plasma transfusion, the ICMR has not suggested the use of this technique in the treatment of COVID patients. It has been deduced from the assessment of recovery trial documents and through evidence curated from international organistaion, that plasma therapy does not lead to any profitable results for the patient. The top medical advisory authority dropped the therapy only after scrutinizing all facts and prospects.
Corroborative conclusions by Indian and foreign studies
Recently, a group of medical professionals had asked Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan to execute steps for preventing the non-scientific use of therapy and the latest decision is an end result of it.
Previously, "off label" use of plasma therapy was recommended by ICMR in cases where two specific conditions were satisfied. It stated that the procedure may be used while the patient is in the early moderate disease phase, no more than 7 days since the first symptoms appeared. Additionally, it also said mentioned that high titre donor plasma must be available for the administration to the patient.
It is noteworthy that the largest randomised controlled trials to examine the effectiveness of plasma therapy were conducted in India itself and results were unsatisfactory. It was concluded that the process was unable to save the patients from succumbing to the virus. On similar lines, the British medical journal, Lancet also produced related evidence claiming that plasma was not helpful in reducing the possibility of deaths.
When medical emergencies have sprung up across the country, an 'irrational' and 'harassing' usage of plasma therapy had multiplied problems for citizens. With innumerable posts and messages looking for donors all over the internet, severity of the situation is clearly visible. Now, with the revision of ICMR guidelines, it can be anticipated that medical professionals will further optimise the treatment process using only judicious steps.
- With inputs from IANS