NEW DELHI: In what may dash the hopes of policymakers, doctors as well as patients and their families, the world’s largest randomised control trial to assess plasma therapy for Covid-19 has shown that it does not benefit either in reducing mortality or arresting progression of the disease.
The trial, called PLACID, was carried out under the aegis of Indian Council of Medical Research in 39 hospitals across 14 states and Union Territories.
The study involved 464 moderately ill patients with breathing difficulties and oxygen saturation level below 93%. Of them, 235 were given convalescent plasma (CP) with antibodies against the disease, collected from those who recovered.
The remaining 229 received only standard care. Those in the intervention group were transfused with two doses of 200 ml plasma 24 hours apart.
Both the intervention and control groups were compared after 28 days.
The findings, released on a preprint server, have shown that 34 patients or 13.6% who received plasma therapy died while 31 patients or 14.6% who did not receive it, succumbed to the infection.
Also, 17 patients in each group progressed to have severe disease.
“Although the use of CP (convalescent plasma) seemed to improve resolution of shortness of breath and fatigue, this did not translate into reduction in 28-day mortality or progression to severe disease in moderate Covid19 patients,” noted the study, led by ICMR scientist Dr Aparna Mukherjee.
The findings assume significance in the ongoing pandemic as several state governments are actively promoting plasma therapy.
Some have even set up plasma banks after the national Covid-19 clinical management protocol allowed it as an investigational therapy.