A couple of days back, Vijay (name changed), an employee of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, had to run from pillar to post to acquire two units of plasma, as doctors in a private hospital treating his father with COVID-19, had asked him to get them on an emergency basis. With great difficulty, he could manage by paying ₹35,000 for two units in the grey market.
This is the case in the city, when world over the use of Convalescent Plasma for treating COVID-19 patients has already been called off.
“There is enough data to suggest that CPT has no role in treating COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Laxmi Narayana R. Buddharaju from University of Nebraska Medical Centre.
“We have already stopped the use of CPT in the western world and even ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has also done enough evidence-based study to suggest the same,” he added.
According to Dr. Sudhakar, the Principal of Andhra Medical College and District COVID special officer, ICMR had already issued an advisory stating that indiscriminate use of CPT in coronavirus-infected patients was not advisable.
As per ICMR, a potential donor for convalescent plasma should have sufficient concentration of antibodies working against COVID-19, he added.
Initial theories negated
There was a time when it was recommended, but those were in the initial phase of the pandemic. “Now we have enough data that negates that understanding,” said Dr. Ram Kairam, paediatric neurologist, Texas, U.S.A.
“In the initial days, treatment of COVID-19 was on an experimental basis and we at KGH have bought a machine for ₹40 lakh for extraction of plasma. We even conducted press meets to motivate people cured of COVID-19 to donate plasma. But now those theories have proved to be unfounded and we have enough evidence to suggest that it is not effective,” explained Dr. Sudhakar.
According to Dr. Premkumar, chest specialist from Government Hospital for Chest and Communicable Diseases, CPT in the initial days was recommended for critical patients, then it was told that it suited best when administered just before a patients entered the ventilator stage and finally it was told that it was best suited when given in the initial days of the COVID-19 time cycle. But evolution of science and research in the last one year suggested that CPT is history now, and people could now question its use, if recommended, he said.
The experts were speaking at the 60th webinar organised by Dr. Sudhakar for AMC, in association with Dr. Ram and Dr. Sridhar Chilimuri, chairman, Bronx Care, New York, U.S.A.
“We have been holding these webinars for the past one year, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic. The disease is new to us and the webinar helps us in understanding the pandemic from a global perspective. Sharing and learning the best practices is the basic idea,” said Dr. Sudhakar.
Some of the webinars were lecture-demonstrations and eye-openers for many doctors engaged in COVID-19 treatment. “These sessions will continue as various aspects from critical treatment procedures to basics such as how to use oxygen and masks are discussed,” said Dr. Sudhakar.
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