As the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has allowed Punjab to conduct clinical trials of convalascent plasma therapy in the treatment of coronavirus patients.
Earlier in April, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder had allowed use of this therapy when Assistant Commissioner of Police Anil Kohli was tested positive for the coronavirus and admitted to SPS Hospital in Ludhiana. However, the ACP passed away before his treatment could be started. Former Director PGIMER, Chandigarh, Dr KK Talwar had organised the requisite professional guidance but ACP Kohli's condition deteriorated before the therapy could be tried out. However, Punjab pursued the matter and a formal proposal was sent to ICMR for approval.
Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Governance Reforms and Chairman, COVID Health Sector Response and Procurement Committee, Vini Mahajan said that the ICMR had given its nod to conduct the trial, which is expected to commence shortly.
"The Government Medical College Amritsar and Patiala, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in Faridkot, Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research at Amritsar, The Christian Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana, the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana and Satguru Partap Singh Hospital, also in Ludhiana, have partnered to undertake the clinical trial of convalascent plasma therapy," Mahajan said.
The inter-institution coordination would be done by the Principal Investigators, who would also ensure that the entire trial is conducted in strict accordance with the ICMR protocol at each institution, she added.
Mahajan further said that under the guidance of Dr KK Talwar, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Principal Investigators, including Dr Aikaj Jindal, the Head of Department, Transfusion Medicine, Satguru Partap Singh Hospital, Ludhiana; and Dr M Joseph John, Head of Department, Clinical Hematology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.
She further said that Punjab was united in this latest effort to fight against COVID-19.
With 331 fresh coronavirus cases, total reported cases in Punjab jumped over 1,100 as on May 3, according to latest data released by the state health department. Out of the total cases, 117 have been cured while 21 others succumbed to the infection and the number of active cases stands at 964.
By Chitranjan Kumar with agencies inputs