BENGALURU: The State Government has submitted a report by experts to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), seeking approval to begin trials/therapy using convalescent plasma on critical COVID-19 patients. “We are likely to get approval for it any time soon, after which we will begin plasma therapy.
We have sent a report to ICMR,” Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar told TNIE on Wednesday. “Kerala has already got approval for trials and we hope to get it soon.” Convalescent plasma therapy is seen to offer much hope in turning critically ill patients around, even as the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities have increased by the day.
Once the go-ahead is obtained, plasma therapy will be used on infected patients in designated hospitals as part of clinical trials. According to Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar, plasma transfusion therapy will help critically ill patients. “People who had tested COVID-19 positive and discharged on recovering after treatment will have developed antibodies. Plasma from their blood can be used to treat others,” he said.
State waits for ICMR’s plasma therapy protocols
The antibodies developed in recovered patients, when transfused into critically ill patients, would help boost the immunity system of the latter to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. The clinical trials will include antibody tests on recovered patients donating their blood to check the levels and status of antibodies sought to be transfused through plasma into patients critically ill with COVID-19.
As on Wednesday, Karnataka reported 279 positive cases, while 80 patients were discharged after treatment. “We have all details of the recovered patients discharged from designated hospitals and it will not be difficult to get in touch with them and convince them to help others,” the minister added. Sources said that ICMR is yet to come out with protocols on plasma therapy and states will be able to go ahead with it once the protocols are issued.
“It may take some time for ICMR to come out with protocols and for trials to begin,” a specialist privy to the development said. “Once we get the required approvals, we need to talk to them (recovered patients) and convince them to donate their blood. If they are willing and their haemoglobin values are good, we can proceed. We can use it to treat critical COVID-19 patients,” the specialist said.