Plasma therapy didn’t help COVID-19 patients: ICMR

Plasma therapy didn’t help COVID-19 patients: ICMR

While 235 patients received convalescent plasma therapy, along with standard Covid-19 care, 229 patients in the control group received onlyCovid-19 care.

While use of convalescent plasma as a treatment modality for Covid-19 has received authorisation for off-label use in India, the aim of ICMR's PLACID trial was to investigate its effectiveness for treatment of Covid-19.

Participants were randomised to either the control or the intervention arm. The trial was registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) for the goal and was conducted to find the effectiveness of convalescent plasma (CP) for the treatment of COVID-19. In states like Odisha, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu also COVID-19 patients are being treated using plasma therapy.

Convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 involves the transfusion of a recovered patient's plasma into someone whose body has not been able to mount a strong enough response against the disease. "However, it did not demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties as we could not detect any difference in the levels of inflammatory markers such as ferritin, CRP, D-Dimer or LDH between the two arms", the ICMR researchers in the study said. Of these, 29 were teaching public hospitals and 10 were private hospitals spread across 14 States and Union Territories, and representing 25 cities.

The ICMR officials said that "The use of CP therapy as a treatment for Covid-19 has received support for off-label use in India".

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The study was done on 464 patients, who were hospitalised with moderate symptoms. In both categories, the disease progressed to severe illness in 7.2 per cent of the patients in the intervention arm and 7.4 per cent of the patients in the control arm.

A prior measurement of neutralising antibody titres in donors and participants may further clarify the role of CP in the management of COVID-19, it said.

"The ICMR study does not say there are no benefits of plasma therapy, it says CPT may not be effective for a patient on ventilator", Jain told the news channel. The results showed that no difference was found in the condition of patients receiving plasma therapy and patients receiving general treatment within 28 days time.

The study's authors said that the use of CP appeared to mitigate shortness of breath and fatigue among patients, and did correspond to a "higher negative conversion of viral RNA", but ultimately did not improve outcomes over the period of evaluation. This has resulted in its widespread adoption in real-world clinical practice, where it is being used to treat COVID-19 patients with a wide spectrum of disease severity.

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