Why in news?
- Plasma therapy is not an approved treatment for COVID-19 and is only one of the several therapies which is being explored currently, the Health Ministry said on 28th April 2020, adding that the therapy is still at an experimental stage and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is currently studying its efficacy.
- The Health Ministry statement comes days after the Drug Controller-General of India gave its go-ahead to a proposal by the ICMR for the clinical trial of convalescent plasma therapy in COVID-19 patients as per the protocol developed by ICMR.
- Till the ICMR concludes its study and a robust scientific proof is available, plasma therapy should be used only for research or trial purpose.
Plasma Therapy in the past
- Plasma treatment is done by taking blood plasma from a cured COVID-19 patient to treat positive cases to effectively strengthen the immune system.
- In 2014 convalescent plasma, collected from patients who had recovered from Ebola virus disease, was recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an empirical treatment during the outbreak.
- During the H1N1 virus outbreak of 2009 and SARS epidemic of 2003, plasma therapy was used to treat patients.