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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Avoid indiscriminate use of plasma therapy: ICMR

Convalescent plasma therapy, or CPT, is a procedure in which Covid-19 antibodies in the blood of a patient who has recovered is extracted, and injected into a patient who is still sick.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: November 19, 2020 7:29:05 am
coronavirus plasma therapy, covid treatment by plasma therapy, icmd on plasma therapy, covid update, covid news, indian expressThe advisory, which was issued on Tuesday, said plasma therapy should be used only in certain suitable cases that have already been specified by the ICMR.

IN VIEW of the continued “inappropriate use of convalescent plasma therapy” for Covid-19 patients, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised all state governments and health authorities to “avoid indiscriminate use” of this therapy considering that it is beneficial only in some specific cases.

Convalescent plasma therapy, or CPT, is a procedure in which Covid-19 antibodies in the blood of a patient who has recovered is extracted, and injected into a patient who is still sick. This procedure has been found, in some cases, to help the patient build immunity against the disease. This method has been tried for the treatment of other viral diseases as well, such as H1N1, Ebola and SARS.

However, an extensive study by the ICMR in September on Covid-19 patients had found that CPT neither reduced the severity of the illness nor prevented mortality. It was the world’s largest such study, and reinforced similar evidence from other studies done in countries such as China and the Netherlands.

“Despite all this evidence, inappropriate use of convalescent plasma is taking place, and we thought the right way to address this issue was through this advisory,” Dr Samiran Panda, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases division at ICMR, told The Indian Express.

Explained | The plasma therapy debate

The advisory, which was issued on Tuesday, said plasma therapy should be used only in certain suitable cases that have already been specified by the ICMR.

“It is speculated that convalescent plasma having low concentration of specific antibody against SARS-CoV2 (Covid-19) may be less beneficial for treating Covid-19 patients as compared with high concentration of such antibodies. This advisory therefore embraces the principle that a potential donor for convalescent plasma should have sufficient concentration of antibody working against Covid-19… It also highlights that presence of antibody against Covid-19 in a potential recipient makes transfusing convalescent plasma a futile intervention,” the advisory said. “CPT, therefore, should only be used, as advised by ICMR…, for management of Covid-19 when specific criteria… are met.”

Read | Covid task force advises doctors to administer plasma therapy within 48 to 72 hrs of hospitalisation

The advisory mentioned that a potential donor must be aged between 15 and 65, with a body weight of more than 50 kg. Only those who had been found positive through RT-PCR tests should be considered for donating plasma. For women, only those who have never been pregnant, should be considered for selection as a donor.

The recipients must be in the early stage of their disease, between three and seven days from the onset of symptoms but not later than 10 days, the advisory said.

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