The trial conducted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for convalescent plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients did not show much clinical benefit in reducing fatality risk caused due to the virus.
“These are initial analyses. There were two groups of 15 patients each on whom a randomised control trial was done to know the effectiveness of plasma therapy. One group received standard treatment protocol while the other group received convalescent plasma therapy along with standard treatment. It was noted that mortality was similar in both the groups with no much clinical benefits to the patients,” Dr Randeep Guleria, Director at AIIMS told ANI.
“It is also important to note that we need more evidence on it to conclude anything. Current evidence suggests that convalescent plasma is safe, does not cause any harm to a patient. But at the same time, it (plasma therapy) is not very effective and hence should be used prudently,” Dr Guleria further said.
It may be noted that the Union Health Ministry in its clinical management protocol for COVID19 patients has described the use of convalescent plasma therapy as one of the investigational therapies.
The treatment protocol states that convalescent plasma therapy may be considered in patients with the moderate disease who are not improving (oxygen requirement is progressively increasing) despite the use of steroids.
The dose for convalescent plasma can be variable ranging from 4 to 13 ml/kg (usually 200 ml single dose given slowly over not less than 2 hours).
“There are special prerequisites while considering convalescent plasma. It includes ABO compatibility and cross-matching of the donor plasma. Recipients should be closely monitored for several hours post-transfusion for any transfusion related adverse events. However, the use of convalescent plasma should be avoided in patients with IgA deficiency or immunoglobulin allergy,” read clinical guidelines.
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is also conducting trials to evaluate the efficacy of plasma therapy, however, results have not been published yet.