Despite unfavourable trial outcome, PGIMER to continue with plasma therapy – chandigarh
The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) will continue to administer plasma therapy to Covid-19 patients even though the clinical trials by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) did not show promising results.
A trial conducted across 39 hospitals in India has revealed that plasma therapy neither reduces the death risk nor does it slow down the progression of the disease from mild to severe stage. The paper, however, is yet to be peer reviewed.
Pankaj Malhotra, professor at PGI’s internal medicine department, who was the principal investigator of the trial, said though the results are not encouraging, they will continue the therapy on a set of patients fitting into the criteria and wherever a physician feels that it can yield better results.
“We have to understand that randomised trials did not have an impact on mortality, but we have to keep in mind that certain symptoms such as fatigue and fever were treated faster. Rather than doing nothing, we can actually do something and try this therapy,” he added.
The institute currently has 10 plasma units ready, which can be given to any Covid patient, whenever needed. PGIMER had announced creation of a plasma bank facility to cater to the needs of patients admitted there as well as other government and private hospitals of the city on a first come, first served basis.
Head of transfusion medicine department Professor Ratti Ram Sharma said, “For now, there is no set treatment for Covid-19 and everything is in the trial mode. The therapy should be given on the discretion of the physician and to those who fall in the category of treatment. It should not be used as an over-the-counter drug which this study has shown.”
PGIMER was one of the centres of the ICMR’s national trial for convalescent plasma therapy. The institute had successfully enrolled nine patients, five of whom received plasma treatment and the remaining ones were on control arm.
It was observed in some cases that the patients was taken off the oxygen therapy in just three days and gradually, their condition improved with the help of supportive care.