NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has announced that it is framing a protocol for carrying out convalescent plasma therapy on patients suffering seriously from Covid-19. In the therapy, blood plasma from people who have recovered from Covid-19 is infused into patients suffering from Covid-19. The therapy is carried out in expectation that antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus present in the body of the recovered patient will help generate immune response in the other patient.
ICMR officials clarified that this will only be done on a clinical trial basis on patients that are in a severe condition or on ventilator support due to Covid-19. “We are in the final stages of making a protocol for convalescent plasma therapy and after that we will need approval from the Drug Controller General of India… It will be done on a trial basis. Abroad, it has been found successful in limited trials. Here we will do it only on patients on ventilator or severe patients,” said Dr Manoj Murhekar, Director, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology. The therapy was recently allowed by United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for investigational purposes.
Convalescent plasma therapy banks on the age-old concept of passive immunity.
Dr Anoop Kumar, member of the state-constituted expert committee for advising the Kerala government on COVID-19, said that after talking to patients who had recovered from the disease, they agreed to be a part of the trial therapy. According to him, the difficult task would be to ensure the availability of the kit for checking the antibody level in the plasma of recovered person. He said that these kits are not available in India and will have to be imported from Germany. However, the cancellation of international flights across the world would lead to delay in procuring the kits for testing.