ICMR has given permission for a line of treatment that holds out some hope
Bengaluru: Health authorities have begun clinical trials of convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients as the pandemic has showed no signs of relenting in Karnataka.
The therapy involves the transfusion of plasma from a Covid-19 patient who has recovered from the disease to a patient who is still suffering from it.
Phase one of the trials began at the BMC Victoria Hospital on Saturday morning. The trials were announced by minister B Sriramulu on his Twitter handle.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on April 21 granted the permission to Dr Vishal Rao of the HCG Bangalore Institute of Oncology to conduct the trials for plasma therapy.
According to a highly placed source in the Karnataka health department, donors for the trials came forward voluntarily to participate in the programme.
If the trials at the Victoria hospital show promise, they will be replicated in other hospitals.
There is no evidence so far that plasma transfusion works as a line of treatment for Covid-19. This form of treatment was used to treat Ebola patients.
Pitching for the trials, Dr Vishal Rao and his team submitted a 239-page dossier to the Union government detailing the rationale for the therapy and asked for ICMR's permission to conduct phase I of the clinical trial.
Phase I will be done on fewer than hundred patients. The plasma will be collected from patients who are not above 60 years of age.