The Central government has revised the clinical guidelines for COVID-19 treatment on Monday, removing the use of convalescent plasma off-label, which was found to be ineffective in preventing the progression to severe disease or death.
Following a meeting of the ICMR-National COVID-19 Task Force last week, all members agreed to remove the use of convalescent plasma from the guidelines, noting its ineffectiveness and improper usage in some circumstances.
According to the AIIMS-ICMR Covid-19 National Task Force decision and the Health Ministry, convalescent plasma provides no therapeutic benefits in patients admitted to the hospital with the disease.
The decision to remove it from the guidelines came after certain clinicians and scientists wrote to Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan, warning against the “irrational and non-scientific use” of convalescent plasma in the nation for COVID-19.
In the letter, which was also sent to ICMR Chief Dr. Balram Bhargava and AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria, public health specialists said that current plasma therapy guidelines are not based on existing evidence and cited some very early research indicating a probable relationship between the formation of variations and “lower susceptibility to neutralising antibodies in immunosuppressed” patients receiving plasma treatment.
“We are writing to you as concerned clinicians, public health professionals and scientists from India about the irrational and non-scientific use of convalescent plasma for Covid-19 in the country. This has stemmed from guidelines issued by government agencies, and we request your urgent intervention to address the issue which can prevent harassment of Covid-19 patients, their families, their clinicians and Covid-19 survivors,” said the letter.