Plasma therapy trials at Gandhi Hospital

Gandhi Hospital is all set to initiate convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 positive patients from Monday as part of the countrywide multi-centre randomised clinical trials. Being spearheaded by Indian Council of Medial Research (ICMR), the effort seeks to ascertain whether the therapy can improve recoveries among the patients.

The process of identifying the SARS-CoV-2 positive patients is already underway and hospital authorities have also identified nearly 15 COVID-19 positive patients, who have recovered and are willing to donate their blood for the unique countrywide clinical trials.

“We have followed all the ICMR guidelines in selecting the ideal COVID-19 positive patients who have recovered and collecting blood for plasma therapy will start from Monday,” says Superintendent, Gandhi Hospital, Dr Raja Rao.

So far, for the convalescent plasma clinical trials, 28 teaching hospitals in the country have been selected. From Telangana, ICMR has hand-picked Gandhi Hospital and ESIC Super Specialty Hospital, Sanathnagar, while applications from Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) and Apollo Hospitals are pending.

The Gandhi Hospital doctors are yet to identify the patients who will be recipients of the plasma collected from recovered patients. “A lot will depend on the condition of Covid-19 positive patients. The medical condition of the positive patients is changing on a daily basis and that’s why, we are taking our time to identify recipients,” Dr Rao said.

Randomised controlled trial is the gold standard to ascertain whether a therapy or a drug will actually work on the patient or not. Essentially, half of the patients in the trial receive the experimental therapy while the other half does not. If patients who receive the experimental drug or in this case the plasma, show substantial recovery compared to others, then the therapy will be considered as beneficial.

Worldwide, so far there have been only three convalescent plasma studies with participation of 19 Coronavirus patients.

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