Amid a rush by state governments to set up plasma banks to treat Covid-19 patients, the union health ministry has issued guidelines asking blood banks to collect convalescent plasma only after the efficacy of the treatment is established.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is currently conducting clinical trials for Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) that uses blood plasma from a patient cured of Covid-19 to treat severely ill patients.
The Second Interim Guidance to Blood Transfusion Services in India in light of the Covid-19 pandemic states that the donor selection criteria for clinical trials of CPT should be as per the protocol approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
“The use of convalescent plasma for routine treatment of Covid-19 patients is not recommended at present,” said the Guidance issued by the National Blood Transfusion Council, which comes under the aegis of the Union health ministry.
“The necessary guidelines for collection of convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients for treatment of such cases will be issued as and when the efficacy of this form of treatment is established and approved by competent bodies,” the Guidance document said.
It also stated that a person who has recovered from Covid-19 can donate blood only after 28 days of discharge from a treating facility or 28 days after home isolation ends.
To maintain safety, the NBTC in its guidelines urged blood banks and camp organisers to exclude donors who are in the risk category.
Very mild, mild, pre-symptomatic, moderate and severe Covid-19 cases must be deferred for 28 days from donating blood after discharge from a treating facility or 28 days after the end of home isolation, the NBTC guidance said.
The definition of the end of discontinuation of home isolation should be as per the home isolation guidelines issued by the ministry from time to time, it said.