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COVID-19: India Begins Controlled Trials Of Plasma Therapy

Kerala and Delhi are set to conduct the initial trials of the therapy after getting approvals from ICMR

India is starting with the first set of controlled trials of the Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) where the antibody-rich blood of recovered patients would be used in the treatment of severely ill patients. According to the Health Ministry, as on April 17, 1748 patients have recovered from coronavirus in the country. The doctors plan on using this pool of recovered people in treating the most severe cases of COVID-19 in the country. 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India’s apex health research body, has established protocols and at least two hospitals in Delhi have started applying the tests to measure the effectiveness of the therapy. Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, an independent government hospital in Delhi, has received approval for the trails. Max hospital is awaiting approval to start the trials. Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) under the Department of Science and Technology has also been approved by the ICMR to conduct the trials.        

According to medical experts, CPT uses a blood component called plasma, which contains the virus-fighting antibodies, extracted from people who have recovered from the infection to treat those who are severely ill due to COVID-19. An official from the apex drug regulator of the country, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) said, “As the same product will be tested across the centres, the approvals are being given to hospitals that conform with the ICMR protocols so that uniform and comparable data is generated from across centres.” CPT trials are also being conducted in China, US, UK and South Korea. 

According to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as on April 17, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India is at 13,495 with 448 deaths.