Home / Science / Health /  Coronavirus treatment: ICMR gets nod to start phase-II of plasma therapy trials

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has received an approval from the National Ethics Committee to start the phase-II multi-centre clinical trial of plasma therapy in India, the health ministry said on Friday. Under this project, the ICMR will check the safety and efficacy of convalescent Plasma Therapy for treatment of COVID-19.

"ICMR has received approval for Project PLACID - Phase-II Open-Label Randomised Controlled Trial from the COVID-19 National Ethics Committee," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, health ministry.

Out of 111 institutions, the ICMR had approved 21 centres to participate in the clinical trials, officials said. Five hospital were selected from Maharashtra, four from Gujarat, two hospitals each from Rajashthan and Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and one hospital each in Punjab, Karnataka, Telangana and Chandigarh.

Convalescent Plasma Therapy is an experimental procedure for COVID-19 patients. In this treatment, plasma from a COVID-19 patient who has recovered from the disease, is transfused into a coronavirus patient who is in critical condition.

The idea behind this therapy is that immunity can be transferred from a healthy person to a sick patient using convalescent plasma. This therapy uses antibodies from the blood of a recovered coronavirus patient to treat another critical patient. The recovered COVID-19 patient's blood develops antibodies to battle against COVID-19. Once the blood of the first patient is infused to the second patient, those antibodies will start fighting against coronavirus in the second person.

According to protocol approved by Drugs Controller General of India, plasma can be collected from those individuals who were recovered from COVID-19 disease after 28 days of symptom-free period. The donors are allowed to donate up to 1,000 ml of plasma in a month.

Earlier health ministry said that the plasma therapy is still in experimental stage and till it is approved no one should use it for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

“It's still in experimental stage, right now even ICMR is doing it as an experiment to identify and do additional understanding of this therapy. Till it is approved no one should use it, it'll be harmful to patient and illegal," Lav Aggarwal said.


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