As Covid continues to claim lives in India, several clinicians, scientists, and public health professionals have raised concerns regarding the non-scientific use of plasma to treat Covid-19 victims.
In an open letter to the principal scientific advisor to the government, the health experts claimed that studies suggest that the use of convalescent plasma is not fruitful in the treatment of Covid-19 patients yet it is being administered at a massive scale in hospitals across India.
Attributing to the guidelines issued by government agencies, the experts appealed to the principal scientific advisor, Dr Vijay Raghavan, to take immediate action regarding this and prevent the irrational use of this drug and the subsequent harassment faced by the Covid patients and their kin.
“The problematic scenario arises because of guidelines issued by ICMR/AIIMS which currently recommends plasma therapy (April 2021 version) as “off label” use. the experts pointed out in their letter asserting that the ICMR guidelines were not based on the current findings which show that plasma is not beneficial for Covid treatment.
Substantiating their claim, the experts also took the opportunity to point out that international guidelines such as those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, and the IDSA guidelines also recommend against the general use of plasma therapy for Covid-19
The signatories urged the advisor to stop the plasma therapy immediately which is causing undue problems to plasma donors and recipients and also give out clear instructions to the blood banks on this matter across India.
Speaking to ThePrint, one of the signatories said that the “off label” tag on the guidelines shows that the government authorities themselves are not convinced about the therapy.
“The off-label tag proves that regulators themselves aren’t fully convinced. The authorities know that it doesn’t work. Off label, itself means not approved, yet it exists as an oxymoron,” said Vivekananda Jha.
After recording over four lakh fresh cases for four consecutive days, India witnessed a single-day rise of 3,66,161 Covid-19 cases on Monday pushed its tally to 2,26,62,575.