Government officials in India are contemplating dropping plasma from coronavirus therapies after a study found it ineffective, per multiple reports.
Dr. Balram Bhargava, chief of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the forthcoming study in the British Medical Journal revealed plasma didn’t lower deaths or prevent progression to severe disease among 464 patients, per Times of India.
Plasma from recovered COVID-19 cases is transfused to critically ill COVID-19 patients, with the hope that the antibodies will help the patient fight or neutralize the disease.
“We have discussed this in the national task force and are discussing further now with the joint monitoring group that this [plasma therapy] may be deleted from the national guidelines,” Bhargava said, per the outlet. “That discussion is ongoing and more or less we are reaching towards that.”
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However, others still have hope.
Satyendar Jain, Delhi health minister, on Wednesday reportedly discussed 2,000 patients who improved from the therapy, touting plasma for saving his own life, one outlet wrote.
“Even America has acknowledged its benefit,” Jain said, per The Economic Times. “Delhi in a way is a pioneer in it and plasma therapy benefits have been seen. You should go and ask family members of those patients who were administered the plasma therapy,” he said.
President Trump announced FDA emergency approval for plasma in August, though top experts, namely Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, voiced concerns over inadequate evidence shortly before the approval which temporarily paused the process.
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“This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection,” Trump had said, adding that the authorization would “expand access to this treatment.”
On its webpage, the FDA notes a “statistically significant 37% reduction in mortality in those treated with high titer convalescent plasma,” or in simpler terms, plasma with higher levels of antibodies.
A study by the Mayo Clinic of over 35,000 patients found that plasma with high antibody levels “significantly reduced mortality” in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 52% of whom were in intensive care.
When the treatment was administered early (within three days), there were fewer deaths.
Fox News Bradford Betz contributed to this article.
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