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WHO advises against use of convalescent plasma for Covid-19

WHO advises against use of convalescent plasma for Covid-19

Convalescent plasma therapy uses blood from people who've recovered from an illness to help others recover.

Geneva: The WHO on Tuesday announced that the convalescent plasma therapy, which involves getting a blood transfusion from someone who has recovered from an illness, is ineffective in treating COVID-19 and should be avoided, IANS reported.

Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued an emergency use authorisation to allow use of convalescent plasma in hospitalised patients with Covid-19.

As per a study released by WHO, convalescent plasma therapy does not improve the survival rate of COVID patients and does not reduce the need for ventilation in severe cases, despite its initial promise as a breakthrough treatment for COVID-19.

The recommendations are based on evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients with non-severe, severe, and critical Covid infection.

A WHO Guideline Development Group of international experts in The BMJ said the treatment also faces practical challenges, such as finding and testing donors as well as collecting, storing and transporting the plasma.

The WHO made a strong recommendation against the use of convalescent plasma in patients with non-severe illness, and in patients with severe and critical illness, except in the context of a randomised controlled trial (RCT).

And although convalescent plasma should not be used routinely in any patients, regardless of how severely ill they are, the panel acknowledged that there was sufficient uncertainty in patients with severe and critical illness to warrant continuation of RCTs.

The guidance adds to previous recommendations for the use of interleukin-6 receptor blockers and systemic corticosteroids for patients with severe or critical Covid-19; conditional recommendations for the use of neutralising monoclonal antibodies in selected patients and against the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in patients with covid-19 regardless of disease severity.

In August, a study led by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) also stated that early administration of convalescent plasma does not prevent disease progression in a high-risk group of Covid-19 patients.

In May, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) dropped the plasma therapy as Covid-19 treatment, citing no significant benefit.

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