Plasma Therapy does not work against Covid. STOP USING IT!

Update (May 18, 2021)

In the article below, we had highlighted that experts have indicated that plasma therapy does not work. And, that ICMR may be reviewing its guidelines. As we had expected and reported, ICMR has reviewed its guidelines and plasma therapy has been removed from the Covid treatment protocol. 

So, if your doctor recommends Plasma Therapy, please update him about this. If he still insists, understand from him why he is recommending Plasma Therapy and take a second, or even third opinion.

Original article below >>

What The Experts Say

  • A group of prominent healthcare experts have written to India's Principal Scientific Advisor K. Vijayraghavan, with copies to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS.)
  • The current guidelines for Covid Treatment that are being followed by medical professionals across the country have been issued by ICMR and AIIMS.
  • The experts have mentioned that:
    • The use of plasma against Covid is "irrational and non-scientific."
    • There is currently no evidence that it does any good to the patient.
    • The use of Plasma Therapy should be immediately stopped.
  • If the expert opinion holds, then what we're seeing is just large scale mistreatment. It is sinful in the current situation considering the additional pressure it is creating on a system that is already struggling.
You can read the coverage in Mint for more details.

What Is The Official Reaction

  • Unfortunately, there has been no response yet from those to whom the letter was addressed - those who are responsible for the treatment protocol, and hence, the protection of Indians from Covid.
  • However, the Bombay High Court has taken cognizance of the letter:
    • It has directed Nagpur based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to conduct research on use of plasma therapy and its side effects, including claims of acceleration of coronavirus mutations in patients.
    • It has expressed serious reservations about using plasma treatment for Covid patients.
  • The Covid 19 Task Force is expected to meet soon. Hopefully, they will taking cognizance of the letter and issuing new guidelines which are aligned with the latest scientific research evidence.

What You Should Do

  • Patient/Relative of Patient
    • If you have been prescribed Plasma Therapy, please discuss with the doctor - tell him about the expert opinion. 
    • Ask him a simple question - is he prescribing the therapy only to follow the suggested protocol, or will the therapy work in his professional opinion? 
    • If the doctor is just following protocol, and is not convinced that Plasma Therapy would indeed work - it might be better for you to skip it*. In the latter case, you might take the opinion of another doctor you trust and then decide.
  • Doctor/Medical Professionals
    • Please look into the latest scientific evidence yourself instead of blindly following 'protocol.' We know its tough, but there are lives at risk!
  • Volunteer/Volunteer Group
    • Inform patients/relatives: When you receive a request for Plasma - you might want to inform them about the opinion of prominent experts on the matter (feel free to guide them to this article.) And, ask them to follow the suggestions that we have listed for patient/relatives*. 
    • Deprioritise Plasma Requests: Most volunteer groups are overstretched and Plasma donors are currently extremely hard to find, making it a very time-consuming exercise. It might make sense for you to deprioritise plasma requests to the bottom of your list, focusing instead on other requests like Oxygen, Food, Ambulance, and Hospital beds which you know will work much better!

Hope this was useful! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

*Please Note: The suggestions in this article are based on information available to us and simple logic. We can not give any assurance that they will work, and do not bear any responsibility whatsoever in the matter. We would advise you to use your own discretion combined with professional opinion from the relevant people while taking your decisions.