Plasma therapy not approved treatment for Covid-19, can be dangerous, says Centre
Plasma therapy was being widely looked at as a promising supportive therapy for coronavirus patients.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 17:24 IST
The Union health ministry on Tuesday advised against considering the plasma therapy to be a regular treatment for coronavirus and added that it should only be used for research and trial purposes till the time there’s robust scientific evidence to support its efficacy.
The government added further that plasma therapy could lead to life-threatening complications if not administered properly.
“There is no approved therapy for Covid-19 in the country including Plasma therapy. Plasma therapy is being experimented with and there is no evidence to support it as a treatment. It is only at an experimental stage. If not used properly, it can create life-threatening complications,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary health ministry.
The health ministry official said that the country’s top medical research body was conducting a study to find out the efficacy of plasma therapy and till then, doctors are advised to use it only for trial purposes.
“Plasma therapy is only to be used for research and trial purposes until an ICMR study on its efficacy is completed. ICMR is conducting a nation-wide research to study the efficacy of Plasma therapy,” he added.
Government’s word of caution on plasma therapy comes at a time when several instances of it helping in virus-infected patients’ recovery have been reported. The Plasma therapy has been used selectively so far, mostly in severe cases where patients were on ventilator support.
Use of plasma therapy involves injecting blood-component plasma extracted from a cured coronavirus patient into a positive case. The plasma of a cured patient is considered to carry virus-fighting antibodies which boost the immune system’s response to the disease. Plasma is the almost-clear liquid left behind after red and white blood cells and platelets are removed from the blood.
Convalescent plasma therapy uses a blood component called plasma, which contains the virus-fighting antibodies, from people who have recovered from the infection to treat those who are severely ill with Covid-19
Several Covid-19 fighting medical care centres in India are reported to have started banking plasma from coronavirus recovered patients after its use was said to have shown positive results.
A few days ago, Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain had reported that six critical coronavirus patients had “nearly recovered” after administration of the plasma therapy. On April 26, it was reported that Mumbai’s Lilavati hospital, too, had identified Maharashtra’s first patient to be given the therapy.
One of Delhi’s designated coronavirus hospital, Lok Nayak hospital is already using the plasma therapy and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is reported is to getting ready to start it for those with severe Covid-19 infections.