Headlines April 11, 2020
India to begin plasma therapy trials to treat COVID-19 patients
India is preparing to start clinical trials to treat coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients with plasma therapy. This involves drawing antibody-rich blood of COVID-19 survivors to treat the sick. The therapy has shown promise in treating patients according to leading medical journals.
India’s top biomedical research organisation, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is working on the guidelines to conduct the trial. Once ready, this will be taken for approvals to conduct trials.
“Since it is a new drug, it has to be given on a clinical trial mode, for which the approval of the drugs controller is a must. Once the draft is ready, then ICMR, as per protocol, will approach the DCGI, for approval to conduct a clinical trial in the country,” said Dr Manoj V Murhekar, Director, National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai.
The therapy has shown consistent and safe effects on a small group of 10 patients in China who were critically ill. They started showing significant improvements after a single dose.
To begin with we will be selecting patients who would be given this medicine on a study mode. The process will be expedited as during pandemics you don’t have to recruit a large number of patients for such trials. A small number is good enough, and the DCGI is quick to give approvals for anything Covid-19 related these days, so we are expecting to start soon. – Dr Manoj V Murhekar, Director, National Institute of Epidemiology
The ICMR has directed states to focus on hot spots and clusters to conduct the trials.
Two labs have already started work on the virus and the government hopes to understand the virus better.
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