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Use of plasma therapy illegal: Centre

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 28, 2020 Published on April 28, 2020

A health worker sanitises the premises of NITI Aayog building after a director-level officer tested positive for Covid-19, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, in New Delhi, on Tuesday   -  Kamal Narang

Efficacy of the treatment yet to be proven, says ICMR

Use of plasma therapy has not been approved by the Centre for treating or as a definitive cure for Covid-19 patients, according to Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“This is not a proven therapy. It is currently in experimental stages. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is initiating a pan-India study to understand the efficacy of this therapy. Till the time it is approved, no one should use it, and it will also be considered illegal,” Agarwal has stated emphatically.

Last week, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, said the Centre had granted permission to the State for limited use of plasma therapy in Lok Nayak Hospital. Four Covid-19 patients with symptoms of breathlessness showed improvement, after being subject to the therapy.

Covid patient ‘cured’

While the Delhi government has clarified that it had been granted permission to conduct the therapy in limited settings in one hospital, another private hospital Max claimed that the first patient in a private set-up to be administered plasma therapy (at the request of his family) on ‘compassionate’ grounds has recovered fully. The donor in Max’s case was also arranged by the family and the hospital has claimed in its statement that it is the first hospital in India to have ‘successfully’ used this therapy to ‘cure’ a critically-ill Covid-19 patient.

The Ministry of Health has also issued new guidelines on self isolation of very mild Covid-19 cases, stating that they can opt for the facility of isolating themselves at home. “In case of difficulty in breathing, chest pain, mental confusion, bluish discolouration of lips or face or, as advised by the treating doctor, immediate medical attention should be sought,” Agarwal said.

Meanwhile, after an official at the director level in NITI Aayog — a government think-tank — tested positive, the building has been sealed for two days. “Disinfection and sanitisation of the building are under way. Contacts of the Covid-19 patient who tested positive have been asked to go on self quarantine,” NITI Aayog has said in a statement.

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Published on April 28, 2020
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