Avoid routine use of plasma therapy to treat Covid-19 patients: Govt to hospitals
Under health ministry’s clinical management protocol for Covid-19, off-label use of plasma therapy has been included to be used in patients with moderate disease who are not improving (oxygen requirement is progressively increasing) despite use of steroids.Updated: Sep 29, 2020, 00:29 IST
The Centre has directed private hospitals not to use experimental therapies such as convalescent plasma or drug remdesivir routinely for treating Covid-19 patients after receiving complaints of its rampant use, particularly in tier 2 and 3 cities.
An expert team in the Union ministry of health and family has looked into these complaints.
“Government has held consultations with big corporate hospitals on this matter. The director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, has also been a part of these consultations. Private hospitals have been given clear instructions to not use these investigational therapies routinely,” said Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.
“All states have also been instructed to keep a check to avoid routine use of these therapies, and give only to those Covid-19 patients for whom it is intended. AllMS, Delhi, through its webinars that are meant to handhold peripheral hospitals in providing critical care have also been emphasizing on it,” he said.
Currently, no effective treatment is available for Covid-19, but there are certain drugs and therapies that have been approved by country’s drug regulator under investigational therapy or emergency use authorization based on the limited evidence available from research taking place globally and in India.
Because of the limited data availability, investigational therapies are meant to be used only in a defined subgroup of patients.
Under health ministry’s clinical management protocol for Covid-19, off-label use of plasma therapy has been included to be used in patients with moderate disease who are not improving (oxygen requirement is progressively increasing) despite use of steroids.
Antiviral drug remdesivir has been approved for use under emergency use authorization in patients with moderate disease (those on oxygen).
“Scientists and researchers are working on many aspects of treatment options for the development of vaccination and medication to combat this life-threatening problem. Convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients contains antibodies against COVID-19 which may be beneficial to severely sick COVID-19 infected patients, and was included as an experimental therapy in the clinical management protocol for Covid-19. Same goes for the drug remdesivir, as it had also shown promise in stopping virus replication,” said an official in the health ministry, in the know of things.
“It is to be given only in patients that fall into the given category, and not open for all Covid-19 patients. There are contraindications mentioned in the protocol that must strictly considered before putting any patient on these drugs or therapies,” the official added.