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Prof (Dr.) Balram Bhargava, DG of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) during a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo/ANI)
Prof (Dr.) Balram Bhargava, DG of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) during a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo/ANI)

National Task Force, JMG will decide whether to continue plasma therapy for COVID treatment: ICMR

ANI | Updated: Sep 15, 2020 19:31 IST

New Delhi [India], September 15 (ANI): The National Task Force on COVID-19 and joint monitoring group (JMG) of the Health Ministry will decide whether the plasma therapy should be continued in the treatment of coronavirus infected patients in India, Professor (Dr.) Balram Bhargava, DG of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday.
Dr Bhargava informed in context with the ICMR findings that revealed Convalescent Plasma (CP) therapy didn't help in reducing death due to the coronavirus in India.
"Plasma therapy has been used for more than 100 years now in some form or the other for various virus infections. It was used in ebola and now being COVID-19. Whether it helps in coronavirus treatment or not, it is being studied. It is still undergoing peer review," he said during a press conference here.
"Once peer review happens and we get a full publication out, this data will be considered again by the National Task Force and joint monitoring group of Health Ministry, then a decision will be taken if we should continue with it," he said when asked to comment upon the recent ICMR study stating Convalescent Plasma (CP) therapy did not help in reducing death due to the coronavirus.
Presently, Convalescent Plasma is in the-Off label use in patients with moderate disease who are not improving (oxygen requirement is progressively increasing) despite the use of steroids.
"India has also contributed internationally by randomized trials on 464 patients in 39 hospitals in 25 districts across 14 states and Union Territories. Trials have shown that it does not reduce mortality or prevent progression from moderate to severe disease," Dr. Bhargava said.
It may be noted that the apex medical research has made these revelations to investigate the effectiveness of plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 after conducting a study in 39 hospitals across India.
According to medical experts, bodies of people who recover from coronavirus produce an anti-body/plasma in the blood to help the person fight against coronavirus. If a little bit of this anti-body/plasma is given to a critical patient then the plasma helps in the latter person's recovery.
The ICMR researchers did an open-label, parallel-arm, phase II, multicentre, and randomized controlled trial from April 22 to July 14. The trial was registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) for the purpose, it said.
The study was conducted between April 22 to July 14 in 464 participants who were hospitalized and moderately ill confirmed COVID-19 patients. About 464 patients were randomly enrolled. About 235 participants were put in the intervention arm while 229 subjects were in the control arm.
According to the study, participants were randomized to either control or intervention arm. Two doses of 200 ml CP were transfused 24 hours apart in the intervention arm, the study noted.
"Composite primary outcome was achieved in 44 (18.7 percent) participants in the intervention arm and 41 (17.9 percent) in the control arm. Mortality was documented in 34 (13.6 percent) and 31 (14.6 percent) participants in intervention and control arm, respectively," study mentioned.
"Convalescent plasma was not associated with a reduction in mortality or progression to severe COVID-19. This trial has high generalizability and approximates the real-life setting of convalescent plasma therapy in settings with limited laboratory capacity. A prior measurement of neutralizing antibody titres in donors and participants may further clarify the role of CP in the management of COVID-19," concluded the findings of the study.
Meanwhile, India's COVID-19 case tally crossed the 49-lakh mark today. A total of 49,30,237 cases have been reported in the country including 9,90,061 active cases, 38,59,400 cured/discharged/migrated and 80,776 deaths. (ANI)