So far widely being used as most effective therapy to treat Covid patients in India, the government has removed convalescent plasma therapy from the country’s clinical management guidelines on Covid-19.
The move comes following suggestion of an expert group which found that the therapy was ineffective in reducing the progression to severe Covid disease or death.
Taking cognisance of the findings, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has revised the clinical guidance for management of adult Covid-19 patients and dropped plasma therapy.
The ICMR took the decision after it ensured that the plasma therapy is not much beneficial. It was based on examination of recovery trial documents and consideration of synthesis of global evidence which is not supporting the usage of plasma therapy.
The earlier guidelines allowed “off label” use of plasma therapy at the stage of early moderate disease, that is, within seven days of the onset of symptoms and if there is availability of a high titre donor plasma.
India had earlier conducted the world’s largest randomised controlled trials to study the efficacy of plasma therapy. The study, which came out in September last year, showed that plasma therapy failed to save people dying from Covid-19.
Recently, British medical journal, Lancet published strong evidence reconfirming that plasma is not effective in reducing deaths in Covid-19 hospitalisation.
The ICMR decision, announced on Monday, followed a meeting of the ICMR National Task Force for Covid-19 on Friday. In the meeting, all members voted in favour of doing away with convalescent plasma therapy for Covid-19 treatment citing its ineffectiveness and inappropriate use in several cases.