‘No evidence to support plasma therapy as COVID-19 treatment,’ says Govt as states await ICMR nod

‘No evidence to support plasma therapy as COVID-19 treatment,’ says Govt as states await ICMR nod
‘No evidence to support plasma therapy as COVID-19 treatment,’ says Govt as states await ICMR nod

In a press briefing, Ministry of Health, Joint Secretary, Lav Aggarwal said that plasma therapy is being experimented and a national-level study has been launched by the ICMR to study the efficacy of the treatment.

Even as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) gave its conditional nod for using plasma therapy in COVID-19 treatment in certain states, the Government on Tuesday said that there is “no evidence to support plasma therapy as a treatment for the deadly infection”.

In a press briefing, Ministry of Health, Joint Secretary, Lav Aggarwal said that plasma therapy is being experimented and a national-level study has been launched by the ICMR to study the efficacy of the treatment.

Until ICMR concludes its study and a robust scientific proof is available, plasma therapy should be used only for research or trial purpose, the health ministry official asserted. He further warned that if plasma therapy is not used in a proper manner under proper guidelines, then it can cause life-threatening complications.

Lav Aggarwal further stressed that plasma therapy isn’t a proven treatment for COVID-19 and that it is still in the experimental stage, where the ICMR is carrying it out as an experiment to identify and gain additional understanding of the therapy.

“Till it is approved, no one should use it… it will be harmful to patient as well as illegal,” he added.

Meanwhile, several states across the country are considering the use of plasma therapy to treat critically-ill COVID-19 patients after the treatment showed positive results in a few patients in Delhi.

Earlier last week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and state health minister Satyendar Jain had informed that six critical Coronavirus patients have been administered plasma therapy in Delhi so far and that the results were “very encouraging”.

Last Tuesday, the Delhi government had got the approval from the Centre to try plasma therapy on critical patients.

The Max Hospital in Saket had used plasma therapy on a critical Coronavirus patient. The treatment showed positive results and the patient was taken off ventilator support, the hospital said on Monday. The 49-year-old man was the first corona patient administered plasma at the hospital.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal then appealed to the recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their plasma, following which about 30 people turned up for donation on Monday.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said that the Centre has allowed the state to use plasma therapy in COVID-19 treatment.

In this treatment, transfusion of plasma from recovered patients to severally-ill COVID-19 patients is conducted. In convalescent plasma therapy, antibodies of a recovered patient are taken and transfused into a sick person (infected by the virus) to help boost the latter’s immune system.

Meanwhile, in the health ministry briefing, it was also informed that India’s recovery rate is now 23.3 per cent, which has been termed as a progressive increase by the government.

The number of infections due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India soared to 29,435 including the 6,868 people who have been treated and discharged so far. The death toll reached 934 on Tuesday.