WHO advises against plasma therapy as COVID treatment
- Plasma therapy was one of the first treatments against COVID-19
- WHO says plasma therapy is complicated and should not be used for mild cases
- For severe cases, convalescent plasma therapy should be used as clinical trial: WHO
Blood plasma treatment, one of the first methods used by doctors when the novel coronavirus spread across the world making millions sick over weeks, should not be given to people with mild or moderate COVID-19 illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now said. Convalescent plasma therapy, often called plasma therapy, showed early signs of great success for COVID-19 patients.
The WHO, in advice published in the British Medical Journal, says that “current evidence shows that it does not improve survival or reduce the need for mechanical ventilation, and it is costly and time-consuming to administer,” AFP reports.
The UN-backed health agency said that for patients with severe and critical illness, convalescent plasma therapy should only be administered as part of a clinical trial and made a ‘strong recommendation’ against the use of blood plasma in people who do not have serious symptoms of COVID-19.
Convalescent plasma therapy is the liquid part of the blood that contains the antibodies produced by the body when a person has recovered from COVID-19 infection and is then introduced into the body of a sick person. When the pandemic began, plasma therapy was one of the earliest methods of treatment deployed by doctors at a time when there were no drugs or vaccines to treat COVID-19.
According to WHO, evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients ranging from non-severe to severe, led them to make the recommendation against plasma therapy.
WHO’s advice against plasma therapy comes at a time when infections from a highly-mutative variant of SARS-CoV-2 is spreading across the world. The omicron variant is said to be capable of eluding vaccine protection rendering the world once again in a space where there is no clear treatment for the infection.
However, omicron variant infections continue to remain mild and no deaths related to the variant have been reported yet.