The therapy involves transfusing plasma from a patient who has recovered from COVID-19, into a sick patient so that the latter may benefit from the possible antibodies generated in the blood of the patient who has already recovered.
New orders issued by different arms of the Union Health Ministry on plasma therapy for treatment of COVID-19 patients are sending contradictory signals.
According to a report in The Hindu BusinessLine, the latest guidelines issued by the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) states that the use of convalescent plasma for routine treatment of COVID-19 patients is currently not recommended.
This is in contradiction to the Union Health Ministry’s clinical management protocol, issued on June 27, which says that ‘off-label’ use of convalescent plasma may be considered in patients with moderate disease who are not improving despite use of steroids.
‘Off-label’ refers to use of an unapproved drug or treatment of a disease or a medical condition.
The protocol suggests that these patients be transfused with a single dose of 200 ml slowly over not less than two hours.
The therapy involves transfusing plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 into active cases so that the latter may benefit from the possible antibodies generated in the blood of those who have already recovered. In theory, this should help patents recover after transfusion.
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)’s study on plasma therapy is still going on.
On June 29, Maharashtra government announced ‘Project Platina’, a plasma therapy trial on COVID-19 patients. The trial is being pegged as the world's largest.
As many as 21 centres have been picked for the trial, including 17 medical colleges under the Medical Education & Drugs Department (MEDD), and four medical colleges in Mumbai under the municipal corporation.
On the same day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced setting up a 'plasma bank' in the national capital to help save seriously-ill COVID-19 patients.
Kejriwal also urged those who had been cured of COVID-19 to donate their plasma.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic