Tamil Nadu’s Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijayabaskar on Saturday said that the clinical trials using convalescent plasma therapy, which was done on 18 patients in the state, have returned successful. Eighteen of the 20 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 have been able to recover when administered the plasma therapy, the Minister stated.
Clinical trials, done according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, since May this year have had positive results, he said. The Minister has appealed to all those who have recovered from COVID-19 to come forward and donate their plasma. The convalescent plasma contains the antibodies produced in response to the infection.
“As per ICMR guidelines, convalescent plasma clinical trial is done since May. Plasma therapy was successful in 18 COVID-19 patients out of 20. I discussed with the blood bank doctors’ team today (Saturday) about further steps. I appeal to those who have recovered to donate plasma for saving lives,” the Tamil Nadu Health Minister tweeted.
He also shared a short clip from his meeting with the team of doctors. In the video, the doctors can be heard explaining that not all patients who recovered from the disease can donate their plasma. The person donating their plasma cannot be over 60 years of age, should not have any comorbidities, and should be a healthy individual. More importantly, plasma can be extracted only after 14-days from the time they reported negative for coronavirus. The Minister has also said that he has discussed further steps to be taken with the blood banks. According to ICMR, plasma therapy is still an experimental treatment.
As per ICMR guidelines,convalescent plasma clinical trial is done since May. #Plasmatherapy was successful in 18 #COVID Pts out of 20 @gmcrgggh. I discussed w/ blood-bank Drs team today about further steps. I appeal, to those who have recovered to donate plasma for saving lives. pic.twitter.com/Jz3nLBGDUq— Dr C Vijayabaskar (@Vijayabaskarofl) July 4, 2020
According to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Clinical management protocol for COVID-19, the convalescent plasma may be administered to a patient with moderate symptoms, who does not seem to be showing signs of improvement in spite of the use of steroids.
There are conditions to follow while considering convalescent plasma as a treatment for a patient. In addition to cross-matching of the donor plasma, ABO compatibility also needs to be checked. The recipient should be closely monitored for several hours post-transfusion for any transfusion related adverse events.
Convalescent plasma should be avoided in patients with IgA deficiency or immunoglobulin allergy. This treatment is listed as “Off Label” in the protocol. As per medical teams, “off label” is usually reserved for drugs specific to the treatment of a particular disease but can be used for treating another disease as well.