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‘Irrational and ineffective’ Plasma therapy dropped from govt of India’s Covid treatment protocol

Several clinicians and scientists had written to Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan informing about the "irrational and non-scientific use" of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in the country.

The AIIMS-ICMR Covid-19 National Task Force and the Health Ministry on Monday dropped convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) from the national clinical management protocol for Covid-19 as the therapy was found to be ineffective.

The decision comes after all members of the task force on Friday agreed to the removal of the treatment citing its ineffectiveness in reducing progression to severe disease or death.

The revised guidelines however, allowed usage of ‘off label’ plasma at the stage of early to moderate disease.

Several clinicians and scientists had written to Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan informing about the “irrational and non-scientific use” of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in the country.

The letter which was also marked to ICMR chief Balram Bhargava and AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, public health professionals claimed that the current guidelines on plasma therapy are not based on existing evidence. 

Signed by vaccinologist Gagandeep Kang, surgeon Pramesh C S and others, the letter pointed out the possibility of an association between the emergence of variants with “lower susceptibility to neutralising antibodies in immunosuppressed” people given plasma therapy.

It also raised alarm over the possibility of more virulent strains being developing due to irrational use of plasma therapy which can potentially fuel the pandemic.

India’s largest trial PLACID and an ICMR study published in October last year too had confirmed that convalescent plasma was ineffective in arresting Covid-19.

The rampant use of plasma therapy had also resulted in black marketing of the same with donors charging thousands for plasma thus commercializing the entire process, as per reports.

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