Plasma isn't proven therapy, can be 'life-threatening': Govt
New Delhi: In a major U-turn, the Union Health ministry on Tuesday "invalidated" the treatment efficacy of the plasma therapy citing that it is still in an experimental stage and can even prove "life-threatening" for a Covid patient if not done under proper medical care.
The statement made by Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal has come as a shocker for many COVID-19 patients who have been hoping to get cured through the plasma therapy.
The latest observation on plasma therapy by Agarwal has contradicted the statement of Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan who — a few days ago — had asked the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) to motivate recovered Covid patients to donate blood so that their blood and plasma can be used to treat critical Coronavirus patients.
"As mentioned by the ICMR, the convalescent plasma will be really helpful in treating severe and serious COVID-19 patients. So, we asked the blood bank volunteers to motivate COVID-19 recovered patients to donate blood," Vardhan had said after a virtual meeting with IRCS chairman.
Commenting on it, Agarwal said: "The ICMR has clearly stated that there is no approved therapy for COVID-19, including the plasma, either in India or in world. The USFDA has also considered it as an experimental therapy only."
He further said: "The ICMR has started a study and until it is complete and robust scientific evidence is acquired, plasma should not be considered as a treatment therapy."
"As per the ICMR, use of plasma therapy without scientific proof is completely illegal and a detailed guideline has already been issued in this regard" he said.
Notably, Delhi had reported the country's first plasma therapy success story last week as a 49-year-old man was treated with this therapy. The positive result triggered a rush to donate plasma. Mumbai too joined the race and started plasma therapy trial on Tuesday.