09 April 2020
New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that it is finalising the protocol for convalescent plasma therapy for the treatment of severely ill Covid-19 patients.
Speaking at a press conference, Manoj Murhekar, Director, National Institute of Epidemiology, ICMR, said, "We are in the process of finalising the protocol for convalescent plasma therapy. Then we will have to take approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) before conducting any clinical trial."
Murhekar also said that the therapy will not be used for all patients, but only for severe cases such as those on ventilator support. He said that many countries have found it successful in limited clinical trials.
"It is only for severe patients who are on ventilators and not for patients with less severity," Muherkar said.
In the convalescent plasma therapy, the antibodies of a person who has recovered from the virus are taken and transfused into a person sick with the virus to help boost a person's immune system.
Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal, who was also present at the press conference, told the media that two labs under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Hyderabad and Delhi have started working on genomic sequencing to understand the evolution of the Covid-19 virus.
"Two CSIR labs -- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi -- have started working on genome sequencing to understand the evolution of the Covid-19 virus," he said.
The ICMR has tested 1,30,000 samples so far. Of these, 5,734 have tested positive. The rate of positive cases ranged between 3 per cent and 5 per cent in the last 1-1.5 months. "It has not increased substantially. On Wednesday we tested 13,143 samples," said Muherkar.