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Convalescent plasma therapy is the process in which the blood of people who have recovered from an illness is used to help others. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given emergency authorization for convalescent plasma therapy in 2020 with high antibody levels to treat Covid-19. It was to be used for people sick with Covid-19 who were suffering from an underlying health problem. However, the plasma therapy was withdrawn as a Covid-19 treatment by the Indian Council of Medical Research, stating no substantial effect. But a new study has found that plasma therapy shows potential in the treatment. According to the study published in the JAMA Oncology, plasma therapy boosts survival in Covid-19 patients with blood cancers.
According to a study performed by experts from Washington University in the United States, giving recovered Covid-19 patients convalescent plasma can substantially enhance the chances of life among blood cancer patients hospitalised with the fatal virus. Coronavirus patients with blood cancer who got convalescent plasma had a 48% lower chance of mortality than identical patients who did not get this treatment.
As per the study results, patients hospitalized in the critical care units showed a 60 per cent lower risk of death, and those who required mechanical breathing benefited significantly more from convalescent plasma. Jeffrey P. Henderson, Associate Professor of medicine and molecular microbiology at the University's School of Medicine in St. Louis said, "These results suggest that convalescent plasma may not only help Covid-19 patients with blood cancers whose immune systems are compromised, it may also help patients with other illnesses who have weakened antibody responses to this virus or to the vaccines."
He further added that the study highlights the value of an antibody therapy such as convalescent plasma as a virus-directed therapeutic option. The treatment entails transfusing plasma (a light-yellow liquid rich in antibodies) from persons who have recovered from Covid-19 into patients with leukaemia, lymphoma, or other blood malignancies hospitalised with the virus. The objective is to boost their disease-fighting capabilities.
For the study, researchers looked at 143 individuals who got convalescent plasma and 823 who didn't. Of the 338 patients hospitalised to ICUs due to severe Covid-19 symptoms such as difficulty breathing or heart distress, were more than twice as likely to survive if they got therapy.
In an advisory last month, ICMR dropped the use of convalescent plasma from the recommended guidelines for Covid-19. Despite the fact that an ICMR trial of 400 patients last year, known as the PLACID trial, revealed no substantial benefit from plasma therapy, it still has a position in the recommended recommendations for 'off label' use.
A study published in the British Medical journal The Lancet also found that no benefit was found in reducing mortality or improving patient outcomes in a double-blinded trial involving about 5000 patients who got the treatment.
(with inputs from IANS)
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