Convalescent Plasma therapy ineffective in reducing COVID-19 deaths: ICMR study

Grant Boone
September 11, 2020

The multi-centre clinical study commissioned on 17 July sought to assess the "Safety and Efficacy of Convalescent Plasma to Limit COVID-19 Associated Complications in Moderate Disease" in the so-called PLCID Trial, according to an ICMR notification.

ICMR guidelines now leave it to medical practitioners to administer CP in case of moderately ill COVID-19 patients. Research by ICMR also says that there are only two studies on the use of convulsive plasma, one from China and the other from the Netherlands. The trial was registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India for the objective, it said.

The Convalescent Plasma (CP) therapy didn't help in reducing death due to the coronavirus, the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revealed in a study. Convalescent plasma therapy, an experimental treatment for severe cases of the coronavirus, involves giving the blood plasma of an individual who has recovered from the infection to a patient in serious condition. Of these, 29 were public hospitals and 10 were private hospitals spread across 14 states and Union Territories representing 25 cities. Out of these, 464 moderately ill COVID-19 patients were randomly enrolled.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said that the government will continue to use convalescent plasma therapy for severely-ill coronavirus patients, NDTV reported.

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The participants were divided into two groups - the intervention arm of 235 participants received two doses of plasma at a 24-hour interval, while the control arm with 229 participants received "best standard of care" without plasma. 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 management of COVID-19, it said.

The therapy is to leverage the antibodies in a recovered patient's plasma to help others beat the disease.

"There were no differences in outcomes between the study participants receiving CP with compared to patients who were on BSC". A total of 464 patients were included in the study. The head of the United States' medical regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, apologised for hyping the benefits of CP after the organisation approved the use of it as a treatment under the emergency use authorisation. 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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