What doctors have to say on convalescent plasma therapy as treatment option for COVID-19?
One investigational treatment being explored for COVID-19 is the use of convalescent plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Considerable buzz is already happening around how this may prove to be a breakthrough in COVID-19 treatment.
Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be safe and effective as a treatment for COVID-19. In lieu of which FDA has not yet approved the COVID-19 convalescent plasma, it is regulated as an investigational product.
Also, the Union health ministry on April 28, warned against its use. In a press briefing, joint secretary Lav Agarwal said the Indian Council of Medical Research had launched an experimental study on the efficacy of plasma therapy. “Till the study is approved, no one should use it,” Agarwal said.
There have been a few successful cases too. Here are a few of them:
~ Use of plasma therapy on Covid-19 patient successful, claims KIMS Hospital
~ Sassoon hospital claims Pune’s first successful plasma therapy for Covid-19 patient
~ Four Critical Coronavirus Patients Recover After Plasma Therapy In Indore
In the midst of this, we took a poll to find out what doctors think about the clinical usage of Plasma therapy in COVID-19 Patients.
As a response 350 doctors & medical students took the poll, out of which 46.6% of were doctors & 53.4% of were medical students.
Major specialties that participated were Internal Medicine, General Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Dentistry and others.
A resounding 62% of physicians voted in favour of using the existing trial results & cumulative clinical experience, 35.3% are in favour of waiting for any concrete evidence before using the therapy as treatment. But only 2.7% believe that Convalescent Plasma therapy should not be used at all.
Talking about medical students, 68.1% of them voted in favour of using the existing trial results & cumulative clinical experience, 31.9% are in favour of waiting for any concrete evidence before using the therapy as treatment. In contrast, none of them believes that Convalescent Plasma therapy should not be used at all.
Here’s a snippet of their thoughts, in their own words…
"I would go for the fourth option ICMR should on their own initiate 2 separate clinical trials 1) in moderate cases of Covid19 and 2) in severe cases of Covid19 and let us have our own data of Indian patients. As a part of clinical trial, every patient has a right to refuse to join or right to participate after proper counseling. Theoretically, patients have more to gain than loose by plasma therapy, as therapy has very few adverse effects." ~Internal Medicine
"Without knowing concrete result we should see and wait so that we latter not regret." ~Ophthalmology
"When there are very few options available it is better to use the options available." ~Internal Medicine
"With so many cases with positive results of plasma therapy..It seems there is a need for starting clinical trials" ~General Medicine
More extensive studies are now in the pipeline to provide robust evidence either for or against the use of convalescent plasma. Worldwide there are over 60 clinical trials actively recruiting COVID-19 patients to study the effect of convalescent plasma.
Fingers crossed for a positive outcome for convalescent plasma use in COVID-19. Hopefully, our improved understanding of convalescent plasma will also be valuable for pandemics of the future.