`Irrational and non-scientific': Centre drops plasma therapy from COVID treatment protocol

Centre’s National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 on Monday removed plasma therapy from the list of treatment protocols for adult patients.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  18 May 2021 2:47 AM GMT
`Irrational and non-scientific: Centre drops plasma therapy from COVID treatment protocol

Hyderabad: Centre's National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 on Monday removed plasma therapy from the list of treatment protocols for adult patients.

In revised clinical guidelines for the management of adult COVID-19 patients, use of convalescent plasma therapy has been removed even as an 'off label treatment'.

COVID-19 National Task Force/Joint Monitoring Group of AIIMS/ICMR on Monday released new clinical guidelines for the management of mild, moderate, and severe COVID cases. However, plasma therapy does not find a mention under the new guidelines.

All the members of the NTF, which includes senior officials, scientists and top doctors were in favor of removing plasma therapy from the treatment guidelines at a meeting last week.

The procedure had been part of previous guidelines. Under the previous guidelines, plasma therapy was mandated to be used on moderate patients within seven days of the onset of symptoms.


The decision to remove it from the guidelines comes against the backdrop of some clinicians and scientists writing to Principal Scientific Advisor K VijayRaghavan cautioning against the "irrational and non-scientific use" of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in the country.

In the letter, which was also marked to ICMR chief Dr. Balram Bhargava and AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria, public health professionals alleged that the current guidelines on plasma therapy are not based on existing evidence and pointed out some very early evidence that indicates a possible association between emergence of variants with "lower susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies in immunosuppressed" people given plasma therapy.

"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. The current research evidence "unanimously indicates" that there is "no benefit offered by convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19," said the letter.

Several politicians, actors, and other celebrities have helped people arrange plasma for their patients, as the more dangerous second wave of infections ravaged the country, killing thousands of people every day.

Earlier, a report submitted by the National AEFI Committee to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that bleeding and clotting cases following COVID vaccination in India are minuscule and in line with the expected number of diagnoses of these conditions in the country.

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