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ICMR drops the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 treatment from Clinical Management Guidelines


ICMR drops the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 treatment from Clinical Management Guidelines
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Members from the  Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National COVID19 Task Force met last week to discuss the use of convalescent plasma in the treatment of coronavirus infection, and following the same, officials from the Government of India revised the guidelines by dropping the off-label use of convalescent plasma.

Reports state that the members found the same to be non-beneficial and cited its ineffectiveness and inappropriate use. The announcement was made on Monday, May 17, 2021, and the revision was confirmed by an official from the ICMR, who stated that the decision was taken after a group of experts - clinicians and scientists - wrote to Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan regarding convalescent plasma's 'irrational and non-scientific use' in the treatment of coronavirus.

The guidelines earlier suggested the use of plasma therapy for the treatment of early-stage coronavirus cases, where the onset of the symptoms is recorded within seven days. 

As per a report published by the PTI, the letter read, "We are writing to you as concerned clinicians, public health professionals, and scientists from India about the irrational and non-scientific use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in the country. This has stemmed from guidelines issued by government agencies, and we request your urgent intervention to address the issue which can prevent harassment of COVID-19 patients, their families, their clinicians, and COVID-19 survivors. The current research evidence unanimously indicates that there is no benefit offered by convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19. However, it continues to be prescribed rampantly in hospitals across India."

The letter signed by Vaccinologist Gagandeep Kang, Surgeon Pramesh CS and other experts also mentioned that some indications have been found regarding the emergence of newer variants due to irrational use of plasma therapy.

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