India on Monday removed convalescent plasma therapy from the list of treatments prescribed for the management of adult coronavirus patients.
The revised guidelines, jointly issued by the Union health ministry, the Indian Council of Medical Research-Covid-19 National Task Force and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, do not mention the use of convalescent plasma therapy.
Convalescent plasma therapy, an experimental treatment, involved giving the blood plasma of an individual who has recovered from the coronavirus infection to a patient in a serious condition. The antibodies in the recovered person’s plasma were expected to improve the condition of the patient requiring treatment.
The therapy was earlier allowed to be used for patients with moderate cases within seven days of the onset of the symptoms, and if a donor with high concentration of plasma was available, according to the Hindustan Times. The earlier guidelines clearly mentioned that the therapy had no use after seven days.
In November, the ICMR had issued an advisory against the “indiscriminate use” of convalescent plasma therapy as a treatment for the coronavirus infection. The advisory was based on the results of a randomised controlled trial among 464 Covid-19 patients with “moderate” symptoms across 39 hospitals in India.
The results showed that convalescent plasma therapy did not lead to a reduction in progression to severe Covid-19 or all-cause mortality, the ICMR had said. The medical research body said that similar studies conducted in China and Netherlands have also documented no significant benefit of plasma therapy in improving the clinical outcomes of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.
The ICMR also noted that convalescent plasma, having low concentration of specific antibody against the virus, may be less beneficial for treating patients. It said that the therapy should be employed only if the donor’s plasma has a “sufficient concentration of antibody”.
Earlier in September too, a study funded by the medical research body showed that the procedure does not help reduce the risk of death or slow down the progress of the infection.
Meanwhile, India reported its highest single-day death count on Tuesday, registering 4,329 new fatalities. With this, the toll climbed to 2,78,719 since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020. India also recorded 2,63,533 new coronavirus, pushing the tally in the country to 2,52,28,996. After recording more than 3 lakh cases a day for nearly a month and even crossing 4 lakh on several days in May, the number of infections has dropped below 3 lakh for the second day in a row.