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Indian health ministry suggests plasma therapy only for covid patients with moderate infections

Published on:2 July 2020, 17:43pm IST
As states across India begin operations for plasma banks, the government's top-notch drug authority suggests restricting use of plasma therapy.
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Plasma therapy might not be the surefire solution for covid-19 patients, after all. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It looks like the covid-19 menace cannot be tamed. After all, every promising new thing that the medical fraternity hopes will be able to stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus, fails to work shortly thereafter. While earlier, it was suggested that plasma therapy for covid-19 patients might actually help with their recovery, now the biggest drug authority in the country is doubting the credibility of convalescent plasma when it comes to SARS-CoV-2 treatment.

According to a notice issued by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), convalescent plasma should only be considered in moderate covid-19 patients who are not improving despite the use of steroids.  

Do you know that now blood tests can identify the severity of the risk of contracting the disease? Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Plasma therapy won’t work in severe coronavirus cases
The above notice was issued today in reference to Union health ministry’s clinical management protocols for covid-19 released on June 27. The government had allowed the use of convalescent plasma (off-label) for treating coronavirus patients in moderate stages of the illness under “investigational therapies”.

“This is with reference to the clinical management protocols for COVID-19 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Health wherein, certain therapies are indicated for use as investigational therapies, in which convalescent plasma by plasmapheresis has been indicated as off-label in COVID-19 patients,” the CDSCO notice, ‘Information on Convalescent Plasma in COVID-19’, said.

“Convalescent plasma may be considered in patients with the moderate disease who are not improving (oxygen requirement is progressively increasing) despite use of steroids,” it added.

How does plasma therapy works?
In this therapy, antibodies are taken from the blood of a person who has recovered from covid-19 and is transfused into a coronavirus-infected patient to help kick start the immune system to fight the infection.    

ABO compatibility and cross-matching of the donor plasma is a prerequisite while considering convalescent plasma, the health ministry has said.   

After the transfusion, the recipient should be closely monitored for several hours for any adverse effects. It has also been said that this therapy should be avoided in patients with immunoglobulin A deficiency of immunoglobulin allergy.

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“The dose is variable ranging from 4 to 13 ml/kg—usually 200 ml single dose given slowly over not less than two hours,” according to the clinical management protocols.

So, now let’s hope Bharat Biotech might be successful in finding covid-19 vaccine so that we can get rid of this virus ASAP.

(With inputs from PTI)

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