New Delhi: After an advisory from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of coronavirus patients, Ganga Ram hospital Chairperson Dr DS Rana has said that Remdesivir is also being considered to be dropped from COVID-19 treatment soon. 

Dr Rana said that there is no evidence of its effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients. The move has come after the use of convalescent plasma has been dropped from the recommended treatment protocols for COVID-19, according to an advisory from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

Ganga Ram hospital Chairperson Dr DS Rana told ANI, “In plasma therapy, we give a pre-forwarded antibody to someone who has been infected before so that the antibody can fight with the virus. Antibodies usually form when the coronavirus attacks.”

“We have seen in the last one year that giving plasma does not make any difference in the condition of the patient and other people. Also, it is not easily available. Plasma therapy was started on a scientific basis and has been discontinued on the basis of evidence,” Dr Rana further said on Tuesday.

According to Dr Rana, “If we talk about other medicines which we use in COVID treatment, there is no such evidence regarding Remdesivir that works in Covid-19 treatment. Medicines that do not have any activity to work, will have to be discontinued.”

“All the experimental medicines, be plasma therapy (which is now discontinued) or Remdesivir, all of them may be dropped soon as there is no such evidence of its functioning. Right now only three medicines are working”, Dr Rana said. 

“Right now, we all are examining and monitoring. The medical fraternity is trying to gather more information, by the time you gain full knowledge about this pandemic, I think it will be over,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, the ICMR issued an advisory to drop the use of convalescent plasma from the recommended treatment protocols for COVID-19. With the cases surging in the country, there has been a spur in the demand for plasma donors, even as experts raise concerns over the effectiveness of plasma therapy for Covid-19 patients. 

Meanwhile, Indian Medical Association (IMA) lent its support to plasma therapy in moderate cases of COVID-19 infection and said such patients may need less oxygen with the use of plasma.

The approval for plasma therapy from the IMA came a day after Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)`s National Task Force (NTF) had dropped use of convalescent plasma therapy from COVID-19 treatment protocol.

“What the IMA is saying is that it (plasma therapy) has been removed as an `off label` use. But it is a clinical step that in moderate cases where oxygen saturation is low, the patient may need less oxygen to stabilise or saturate the oxygen level with the use of plasma,” Dr Anil Goel, finance secretary IMA and urologist, told ANI.

“The use of plasma is being put to use with the consent of patients and attendants,” Dr Goel further said, adding that the high death rate is because the patients are going to hospitals very late, especially those who are in home quarantine.

Dr Goel reportedly advises such patients to see a chest specialist at some COVID hospital regularly for their better and early treatment.

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