Kerala gets ICMR nod to use plasma therapy for COVID-19, K’taka to follow suit

Blood plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 is being used to treat active cases.

Even as scientists across the globe are in a race to find a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, various other advances are being brought in with the hope that they may be effective against coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to reports, the Kerala government has received permission from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to begin using plasma therapy against COVID-19, and it is expected that Karnataka will soon follow suit.

Plasma therapy refers to using treated blood plasma of individuals who have recovered from the disease, for the antibodies they have developed against the novel coronavirus. The idea behind this is that individuals who have recovered from the disease will have the antibodies to the virus in their blood. Scientists hope that by harnessing the recovery mechanism of the antibodies and introducing them into sick individuals, it will enable sick people to fight off the infection.

Kerala state principal health secretary Rajan N Khobragade had confirmed to TOI that the state had received ICMR persmission to carry out plasma therapy.

This method is already being tried and implemented in South Korea, China and even the United States. While the ICMR reportedly has given its nod to allow Kerala to begin looking into utilising plasma of recovered individuals, the Union Health Ministry has yet to officially acknowledge plasma therapy to combat COVID-19.

In the meantime, officials from the Karnataka state government too are looking to see if plasma therapy can be implemented in the state as treatment for those who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Doctors in the state have declared that they have sought clearance for the use of plasma therapy in treating individuals who are sick, but there has been no official mention of this yet.

Earlier, Biocon head Kiran Mazumdar Shaw had tweeted to Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao requesting for a blood bank to be set up dedicated solely for studying the use plasma of recovered individuals to treat those who are still ill.

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