DNA Special: How effective is plasma therapy in treating COVID-19 patients

These days, there is a flood of messages on social media from people seeking help for Plasma. Now the question will be in your mind that what is this blood plasma after all? And why is there so much demand for it? Is this therapy overhyped?

First of all, let us tell you what Plasma is. Plasma is the liquid component present in the blood and it is yellow in colour. A healthy body contains more than 55 per cent plasma. It contains Hormones, Protein, Carbon Dioxide and Glucose Mineral in addition to water. When a patient recovers from coronavirus, the same plasma is offered to the coronavirus victim. This is called Plasma Therapy.

It is believed that if the blood plasma of a patient who has been cured of coronavirus is offered to a sick patient, then the antibodies of the cured patient are transferred to the body of the sick person and they start fighting the virus. Many doctors believe that when the virus hits the body badly and antibodies cannot be formed in that body, then Plasma Therapy can work in such a time.

This is the reason that there is a lot of demand for blood plasma at this time. Now the thing to understand here is whether this Plasma Therapy can save the lives of corona patients? So the answer is not in most cases.

According to a study, out of the total coronavirus patients present in the country, only 10 per cent of patients can be given this Plasma Therapy, but the major thing is that in many researches, it has been revealed that even in these 10 per cent cases, this therapy is not effective.

In this regard, 18 senior doctors, scientists and public health professionals of the country have written to the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India K Vijayaraghavan recommending that there is no evidence of patients recovering from Plasma Therapy so the government should take strict steps regarding this and ban the therapy.

That is, on the basis of many researches conducted in India, the opinion of big doctors and scientists is that Plasma Therapy is not effective in the treatment of coronavirus patients. And it is not just the doctors and scientists of India who are saying this.

In Britain, a test was conducted on 11,000 people regarding this subject, but in this test, Plasma Therapy did not show any miracle. The same result occurred when research was done on it in Argentina. Even there, doctors did not consider this treatment effective.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a government organization that conducts medical research in India, also did a research on it last year, in which it was revealed that Plasma Therapy is not very effective in reducing mortality and treating serious patients of coronavirus.

Though you may be thinking that when this method of treatment is not effective, then why are doctors asking for Plasma?

So the answer is also the ICMR. It has issued necessary guidelines to hospitals across the country for treatment for COVID-19 patients, which details how to treat patients with mild, medium or severe infections.

Plasma Therapy is also mentioned in these guidelines and ICMR says two big things about it. Firstly, Plasma Therapy can be used only on those patients who have slight or moderate symptoms of infection. Secondly, even if this treatment is given to patients of this category, then its time limit should be 4 to 7 days. That is, this therapy can be given within 4 to 7 days of infection. ICMR does not say anything about its use in severe cases. 

But despite this, this therapy is being given to corona patients in many hospitals of the country and in most cases, it is used only when the patient is in critical condition. Whereas ICMR considers it dangerous.

To sum it up, there is a lack of awareness and information about it. And about this, a key meeting of ICMR took place on Friday, in which the guidelines related to treatment protocols were discussed. We have now received reports that within a day or two, the ICMR may issue new guidelines and it is possible that coronavirus patients may be prohibited from using Plasma Therapy. And with this, many shops in our country will be closed.

In India, many NGOs are working to get Plasma to patients at present, many types of mobile applications have come and many people are sharing the information and mobile numbers of the coronavirus patients who have recovered so that Plasma can be taken from them. While most studies say that this treatment is not effective on corona patients. On this, we have prepared a report for you, which will make you aware of it.

(With inputs from DNA India)

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