New Delhi: The health ministry on Tuesday has said there is no scientific proof about the efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy against COVID-19 and the treatment involves its own risks. At a time when several states are planning to opt for the treatment, the statement of the ministry strikes a different chord. Also Read - Three-Phase Unlock 1.0 From Tomorrow: States Decide Dos List, Centre Clears Don'ts List
The AAP government in Delhi has been pitching for plasma therapy — in which the plasma is taken from those who are already cured. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged recovered patients to donate plasma and it has been officially said that the initial results of the therapy are encouraging. However, instead of releasing an official statement which could again bring Delhi government at loggerheads with the Centre, Kejriwal retweeted Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw in which she said that the statement issued by the Centre was inaccurate, given the amount of global data that is available on its efficacy. “It is saving lives. Pls don’t stop this,” Kiran Mazumdar tweeted. Also Read - Coronavirus: As Second-Last Day of Lockdown 4.0 Ends, Here's Where The Four Most-Affected States Stand
Also Read - Working From Office in Lockdown 5.0? Follow These Guidelines
“Plasma therapy can have serious life-threatening complications if proper procedure and guidelines are not followed,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, the health ministry said earlier in the day. “Any treatment done without the ICMR’s approval is illegal,” he said.
The ICMR, in a series of tweets, said currently, there are no approved, definitive therapies for COVID-19 and convalescent plasma is one of the several emerging therapies. However, there is no robust evidence to support it for routine therapy. Even the US-FDA has viewed it as an experimental therapy, it said.
“Despite the threat of the pandemic, there is a need to ensure the ethical integrity and establish the scientific basis of using the convalescent plasma therapy in patients with coronavirus infection,” it said in a tweet.
“The convalescent plasma therapy comes with its own share of technical challenges, like antibody titre testing. There are also several risks of using this therapy including life-threatening allergic reactions and lung injury,” the apex health research body said.
The central drug regulator has given its go-ahead to a proposal by the Indian Council of Medical Research for the clinical trial of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients, as per the protocol developed by ICMR.
The All India Institute Of Medical Sciences is planning to conduct a clinical trial of the convalescent plasma therapy in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Tuesday.