ICMR Covid-19 task force to meet on Friday for review on ‘inappropriate use’ of plasma therapy
The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National task force on Covid-19 is scheduled to meet on Friday to decide on the inappropriate use of convalescent plasma therapy in the treatment of ailing Covid-19 patients, news agency ANI reported quoting ICMR sources.
This meeting comes against the backdrop of clinicians and scientists in the country writing to the government's principal scientific advisor K Vijay Raghavan urging caution against the "irrational and non-scientific use" of convalescent plasma in treating Covid-19 patients in India.
"We are writing to you as concerned clinicians, public health professionals and scientists from India about the irrational and non-scientific use of convalescent plasma for Covid-19 in the country," a letter written by vaccinologist Gagandeep Kang and surgeon Pramesh C S among others said.
Concerns were raised after the Union health ministry issued a revised 'Clinical Guidance for Management of Adult Covid-19 Patients' on April 22, allowing the ‘off-label’ use of convalescent plasma to treat patients of Covid-19 afflicted with moderate symptoms, within 7 days of the onset of the disease.
Citing an ICMR-PLACID trial, the world’s first randomised control trial on the use of convalescent plasma conducted in 39 public and private hospitals across the nation, the letter also alleged that the current guidelines on plasma therapy are not based on existing evidence.
"The current research evidence unanimously indicates that there is no benefit offered by convalescent plasma for treatment of Covid-19. However, it continues to be prescribed rampantly in hospitals across India,” the letter said.
ICMR had constituted a national task force headed by the director of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Dr Randeep Guleria. The task force is responsible for creating treatment protocols, identifying research priorities, and reviewing existing evidence on global strategies to tackle Covid-19.