The much-contested convalescent plasma therapy used in severe cases of covid-19 has been termed as ‘ineffective’ by leading science journal Lancet. The report said that patients hospitalised with severe symptoms of covid-19 administered with plasma therapy did not show improvement in survival or other prespecified clinical outcomes.
The researchers enlisted 11,558 of 16,287 patients enrolled in recovery were eligible for the plasma therapy. “There was no significant difference in 28-day mortality between the two groups: 1,399 of 5795 patients in the convalescent plasma group and 1,408 of 5763 patients in the usual care group died within 28 days,” Lancet said in its report.
None of the conclusions of the study showed evidence that plasma therapy provided had more benefits than usual coronavirus care. Lancet, in its study, called for focus on treatment therapies like next-generation antibody therapies.
While being used widely in India for covid-19 treatment, the efficacy of plasma therapy has been under scanner in India. According to reports, plasma therapy could be dropped from clinical management protocol as ICMR's expert panel found that the therapy wasn't beneficial in reducing the progression to severe disease or death of COVID-19 patients. The members observed that the information and evidence on convalescent plasma was not found to be supportive, sources added.
The Indian Council of Medical Research is expected to issue an advisory soon.
India's national task force on COVID-19 management met on May 14 to review the convalescent plasma therapy for patients infected by the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Top experts looked into the evidence profile and examined it.
The present guidelines allow "off label” use of plasma therapy at the stage of early moderate disease, that is, within seven days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms and if there is availability of a high-titre donor plasma.