Study casts doubts over Plasma cure

The use of convalescent plasma therapy in coronavirus patients does not help in reducing mortality. Nor does it prevent progression to severe Covid-19, a multi-centric study, funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has found. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed but has appeared on medRxiv, a pre-print server. However, members of the state's Covid-19 task force have said it is too early to comment on the development, as the results of the Maharashtra trials are awaited.

The plasma to lipid Covid-19-associated complications in moderate disease (PLACID) trial was a controlled one conducted in 39 tertiary care hospitals across India, between April 22 and July 14, to find the effectiveness of convalescent plasma for the treatment of Covid-19.

The National Taskforce for COVID-19, a committee formed by the ICMR to respond to the pandemic, has reviewed and approved this study.

Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state's Covid-19 taskforce, said the study was conducted on hospitalised, moderately ill and severely affected, confirmed Covid-19 patients and the convalescent plasma therapy was not very effective for them. But had the plasma been administered on time, results would have been different, he felt. “Currently it’s too early to comment, unless the outcomes of the Maharashtra Platina trials are out. When plasma is given to Covid-19 patients earlier, it is effective; if given when his/her condition has deteriorated, then it is of no use,” he said.

The study trial included 464 moderately ill, hospitalised coronavirus patients, of whom 235 were given convalescent plasma, along with the best of standard care while 229 received only standard care, as per the study.

However, infectious diseases expert Dr Om Shrivastav, who is also a member of the state's Covid-19 taskforce said, “Yes, it is effective. The ICMR study looked at a set of patients that were sicker. The best evidence is going to be from patients with a mild infection.”

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Free Press Journal