New Delhi: The National Task Force on COVID-19 and the joint monitoring group (JMG) in the Health Ministry will take a decision on whether to continue plasma therapy in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in India after reviewing the data of its randomised controlled trial, the ICMR said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said a randomised controlled trial, including 464 patients in 39 hospitals in 25 districts across 14 states and UTs, has shown that plasma therapy does not reduce mortality or prevent progression from moderate to severe disease.
He said that plasma therapy has been used for more than 100 years now in some form or the other for various virus infections. It was used during ebola and it was also being used amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Having said that whether it benefits or not is being studied," the ICMR director general said.
Referring to the findings of the ICMR funded randomised controlled trial, Bhargava said this a pre-print version which is still undergoing peer review. "Once peer review happens and we get full publication out, this data will be considered again by the National Task Force and joint monitoring group of the Health Ministry and then a decision will be taken if we should continue with this or not because at the moment we have got permission to use plasma therapy (off label) in India," he said.
"There are a few cases where some reactions can occur and therefore, we will take a considered view once we get the full publication of this study," he underlined.
The Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19 issued by the Union Health Ministry on June 27 allowed use of convalescent plasma (off label) for treating coronavirus-infected patients in moderate stage of the illness under "investigational therapies".