While studies on the use of convalescent plasma therapy for the treatment of Covid patients are yet to come out with any definite result on its efficacy, some hospitals in the city have already started using it on a few patients ‘off-label’. With so much hype around the therapy, hospitals are flooded with request from patients’ relatives for its use.
“Plasma therapy is still in a trial stage. We have used it on one patient as an experimental model after obtaining all the necessary permission,” said Sauren Panja, critical care and internal medicine specialist at RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS), who is treating Covid patients.
A few days ago, the therapy had been used on a doctor of the hospital, who got infected in the line of duty. The donor too was a healthcare worker of the same hospital.
In West Bengal, the clinical trial of plasma therapy is on at ID Hospital, Beliaghata, in a joint project by the state government and the CSIR.
The ministry of health and family welfare on June 13 had sanctioned the use of plasma therapy by hospitals ‘off-label’, which means unofficial approval to use it as an investigative therapy under certain conditions maintaining that this is not a definite therapy.
Currently, about 21 hospitals across the country are conducting trials on plasma therapy under ICMR. The one at ID Hospital is, however, not under ICMR.
“We have used it on about four patients so far as a part of the ICMR trial. All the donors are our hospital employees who have recovered,” said Syamasis Bandyopadhyay, medical director at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals.
Two male nurses of Apollo, Amit Sarkar (26) and Ratnadeep Bhowmik (27), had donated their plasma few days ago. The duo had been infected in April and had joined hospital duty following their recovery and mandatory quarantine period post hospital discharge. “We have about three patients who fall in the category of the off-label plasma therapy. But we have been able to give plasma to only one patient as we are not getting donors,” said cardiologist Alok Roy, chairman of Medica Group of Hospitals.
Meanwhile, the state government that had announced the setting up of a plasma bank at Medical College Hospital in June has now started appealing to patients, who have recovered, to donate plasma. The plasma collected at MCH is currently being used for clinical trial at ID Hospital.
Source: Times of India