ICMR drops plasma therapy from COVID-19 treatment guidelines


Guwahati: The use of convalescent plasma has been dropped from the recommended treatment guidelines for COVID-19, according to late Monday advisory from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The National Task Force of the ICMR, along with experts from the Health Ministry, periodically updates guidelines on recommended modes of treatment. Registered Doctors anywhere, however, aren’t bound by the Task Force recommendations.

Though a trial by the ICMR on 400 patients last year — called the PLACID trial — had found no significant benefit from the use of plasma it continued to find a place in the recommended guidelines, in ‘off label’ use.

Several other international trials had also found no benefit from plasma therapy. In fact some experts have said the use of such plasma may have even played a role in the facilitating new worrisome mutations to the virus.

The most recent study published in the British medical journal The Lancet on May 14, reported that in a double blinded trial involving about 5,000 patients who got the treatment in the United Kingdom, again no benefit was found in reducing mortality, or improving patient outcomes.

In spite of no evidence, doctors have frequently put the onus on caregivers to source such plasma from recovered patients, that has often led to fraught attempts from desperate kin.

The ICMR guidelines continue to recommend Ivermerctin and hydroxychloroquine for mild disease but has also underlined that both drugs had “low certainty of evidence”.