ICMR against indiscriminate use of plasma therapy

Trial stage:A volunteer donating at the plasma bank at LNJP hospital in New Delhi.File PhotoSandeep Saxena  

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned against indiscriminate use of convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) for treating COVID-19.

On Wednesday, it released reports of an open-label phase 2 multi-centre randomised controlled trial (PLACID trial) conducted across 39 public and private hospitals on the use of the CPT in management of cases with moderate infection.

The report concluded that the therapy “did not lead to a reduction in progression to severe COVID or all-cause mortality in the group that received CPT as compared to the group that did not receive CPT”.

Benefits of CPT in improving the clinical outcomes, reducing severity of disease, duration of hospitalisation and mortality in patients were dependent on the concentration of specific antibodies in convalescent plasma that could neutralise the effects of SARS-CoV-2, it said.

It stated that the CPT could be used with specific criteria, including that potential donors could give plasma after 14 days of symptom resolution (testing negative is not necessary). A potential recipient should be in the early stage of COVID-19 (three to seven days from the onset of symptoms, but not later than 10 days) and should have no IgG antibody against COVID-19 by appropriate test.

PLACID is the world’s largest pragmatic trial on CPT conducted in 464 moderately ill, confirmed affected adults in a real-world setting, wherein no benefit of use of CPT could be established, the ICMR said. A release issued by the council noted that similar studies conducted in China and the Netherlands have also documented no significant benefit of CPT in improving the clinical outcomes of hospitalised patients.