The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) - has released its latest treatment and management guidelines for COVID. And the big highlight is the removal of plasma therapy from the clinical management of the disease.
The decision follows a meeting between the ICMR and the National COVID Task Force where members were in favour of removing the use of plasma therapy citing ineffectiveness and inappropriate use.
In fact, prior to that meeting, several clinicians had written to the principal scientific advisor cautioning against the irrational and non-scientific use of plasma therapy in the treatment of COVID-19.
While plasma therapy has been dropped, the ICMR guidelines continue to recommend the use of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in mild patients under the category of 'may dos.' This comes despite the WHO recommending against the use of Ivermectin outside of clinical trials and discouraging the use of HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19 altogether.
However while numbers from urban India especially Delhi and Mumbai show a declining trend, the rural picture remains one of concern.
The centre has issued guidelines now for the management of COVID in rural and peri-urban areas. This includes a provision for rapid antigen test kits at all public health facilities and SOPs for separating suspected and confirmed patients.
In terms of oxygen supply, the railways said it has transported more than 9,440 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen across the country in the past one month. Of this more than 3,000 tonnes has gone to Delhi while over 2,500 tonnes have gone to Uttar Pradesh.
To decode the new ICMR guidelines, Shereen Bhan spoke to Dr Rahul Pandit, Member of Supreme Court's National Task Force; Dr Priya Sampathkumar, Infectious Diseases Expert at Mayo Clinic, USA and Dr Vishal Rao, Member of Expert Committee Karnataka COVID Task Force.Watch video for more.