Doctors have been using infusions of plasma-the part of blood that contains antibodies-from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat COVID-19 patients and also as a possible prophylaxis to prevent COVID-19.
In August, the US Food and Drug Administration had issued an emergency use authorisation for plasma therapy in the treatment of hospitalised patients. In fact, many doctors have raised concerns about the sale of plasma in the black market at exorbitant prices across the country.
Anecdotal accounts suggest that members of the public across India have even sought plasma donations for Covid-19 patients through social media platforms. Balaram Bhargava said that the national clinical protocol for the management of Kovid-19 can be removed from plasma therapy.
"We propose that sex, age, and severity of disease should be used to guide the selection of donors for convalescent plasma transfer studies because we found that these were significant patient characteristics that not only predicted the amount of antibody but the quality of that antibody", says study lead author Sabra Klein, PhD, professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.
The Solidarity Trial is the world's largest global randomized controlled trial in a pandemic situation for COVID -19 therapeutics, spanning 30 countries. "We are discussing further with the joint monitoring committee and contemplating on removing the plasma therapy from the national guidelines", he said. The study that included 464 patients from 39 hospitals across the country was conducted between April 22 and July 14. The test results showed that plasma therapy failed to benefit patients.
According to Bhargava, the research paper has also been accepted for publication in the British Medical Journal. Three factors were associated with stronger antibody responses: having been sick enough with COVID-19 to be hospitalized, being older, and being male.
One may get reinfected with the coronavirus if the antibodies against the infection diminish in the body in five months' time after recovery, a top ICMR official said on Tuesday, urging people to continue wearing face masks and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.
As part of its "Solidarity" trial, the World Health Organization is evaluating the effects of four potential drug regimens, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients from over 30 countries.
Gilead Sciences Inc's remdesivir is among the first to be used as a treatment for Covid-19.