Health Minister Satyender Jain, who recovered from COVID-19 in June a week after he was given convalescent plasma therapy, CPT, said the Delhi government will continue using it as a line of treatment for severe symptoms a day after a study by the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) stated that giving plasma had negligible effect on reducing death risk.
"More than 1,000 Covid patients have been given plasma in Delhi and most of them benefitted; their lives were saved. I know, I have recovered," Mr Jain told NDTV.
Even as doctors and experts maintained that they have witnessed the benefits of plasma therapy in treating coronavirus patients, the ICMR findings have raised concern as India registered a record 95,735 coronavirus cases in 24 hours taking the total number of infections to over 44.65 lakh. Delhi also reported more than 4,000 Covid cases with 20 deaths on Wednesday.
"The ICMR study does not say there are no benefits of plasma therapy, it says CPT may not be effective for a patient on ventilator. Even after a Covid patient reaches the ICU, there are three stages of recovery. We are also saying that plasma therapy does not benefit those at stage 3 of the disease. But it helps those in stages 1 and 2," the Aam Aadmi Party Minister said.
The Delhi government, which has widely promoted plasma therapy, said they would continue with it since "there is no specific line of treatment or drug for coronavirus".
"They (ICMR) have not said it would be wrong to give plasma therapy (to Covid patients). This therapy is 100 years old and has been used to treat many diseases. The concept of using plasma to assist recovery is that we introduce anti-bodies (disease fighting cells) in the body of a person who is not being able to make enough of them on his own," the Delhi Health Minister said.
Several states like Delhi, Odisha, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are conducting plasma therapy to tackle the outbreak of coronavirus.