NEW DELHI: A back and forth by the US on allowing treatment of Covid-19 patients with plasma therapy and a delay in publishing even topline data from a multi-centre randomised control trial by the ICMR seem to have left clinicians in the country confused and uncertain.
Many doctors say the lack of a clear scientific signal, coupled with the tedious process of procuring plasma even as the expectations of patients and their relatives are high once they receive it, make the choice of therapy difficult.
In the US, after first putting the emergency use authorisation for plasma therapy on Covid-19 patients on hold, the government at the behest of President Donald Trump later permitted the same.
In India, the national clinical management protocol for the disease permits the therapy as an investigational therapy and there is no conclusive proof yet on its efficacy, leaving treating physicians unsure of its usefulness.
“The hype around has led to a lot of patients driven care and put pressure on us doctors as well,” said Dr Anupam Singh in Ghaziabad who has been treating Covid-19 patients.
“Many patients demand plasma based on news reports, even in subgroups where plasma is less likely to work, for example very early or very late in the disease.” Dr Aparna Mukherjee, lead investigator of the ICMR trial, said the analysis of the data is taking time in assessing the difference between the mortality rates between the two groups.
“We are hoping to put out the results by the end of this week,” she said.