The Indian Council of Medical Research has said that it will soon meet to discuss the nation’s use of plasma therapy at a meeting on Wednesday.
Plasma therapy treatment has so far raised concerns among the medical community, owing to its failure to save COVID-19 patients back in September, and the government has been warned of excessive use of as a sure-shot treatment.
Balram Bhargava, director general of the ICMR, told The Economic Times that the apex body will ‘deliberate’ on the uses of plasma therapy in the coming meeting.
The irrational use of plasma therapy sparked concerns earlier when renowned vaccinologist Gagandeep Kang and surgeon Pramesh C S warned public health professionals that there could be a link between the emergence of variant strains in immunosuppressed patients with neutralized antibodies. The study conducted within the ICMR frameworks, alongside multiple expert warnings, cite plasma therapy as an experimental treatment with no solid foundation from existing evidence.
As per PTI’s report, several public health professionals appealed to Bhargava and AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria in a letter with the claim that current research did not support the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 treatment, but that it was being prescribed ‘rampantly’ in hospitals across India as families struggled to secure help for their infected loved ones.
The underlying notion for plasma therapy is that antibodies from the blood of previously infected COVID-patients would help build immunity in fresh cases. However, research finds no strong basis for this proposal, with studies both within the country, as well as international studies finding no definitive difference in the mortality of patients treated with and without convalescent plasma
Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) have cautioned against the use of plasma therapy.