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ICMR allows clinical trials of plasma therapy. What this means for fight against Covid-19

In episode 440 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta looks at ICMR approving plasma therapy trials, the Tablighi Jamaat congregation and Bernie Sanders' exit from US presidential elections.

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New Delhi: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved clinical trials of plasma therapy as possible treatment against Covid-19. In this therapy, plasma is extracted from people who have recovered from coronavirus and injected into people who are suffering from the virus.

The move comes after small sample studies from Wuhan indicated that plasma therapy worked against Covid-19. It is also being used in the US. The US Red Cross is collecting plasma from recovered patients and more than 20,000 people have registered to donate plasma.

ICMR has only allowed some hospitals to conduct this therapy on critically ill patients. Once protocols on plasma therapy are established, it can be done on a wider scale. 

Experts want this therapy to be implemented on a wider scale as soon as possible to save lives. Doctors also want this therapy as they feel helpless when critically ill patients come to them. Plasma therapy was used in the 1890s to treat diphtheria patients, even before antibiotics were invented. Plasma therapy for SARS led to a 75 per cent reduction in the fatality rate.

Also read: India ready for clinical trial of plasma treatment for critical Covid-19 patients

Turning point in democrat primaries 

Bernie Sanders has withdrawn from democrat primaries. This came after he was lagging behind Joe Biden, who is now the de facto presidential candidate of the Democratic party. Polls have shown a 5-6 per cent lead for Biden over President Donald Trump. Polls have also shown that Biden is ahead in the electoral college as well. 

Sanders took the democratic party to the extreme left while Biden is seen as a centrist candidate. Democrats are accepting Obama’s vision for the party as a centrist. Sanders’ withdrawal will help Biden’s campaign against Trump. Sanders had fought viciously against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Elections and it resulted in her loss against Trump. He attracted a lot of young voters and they may go to Biden now.

Also read: Bernie Sanders drops out of US presidential race, makes way for Joe Biden as party nominee

Tablighi Jamaat & Covid-19

The Tablighi Jamaat congregation took place knowing Covid-19 was spreading and this should have been avoided as there were also members from foreign countries. About a third of all infections can be linked to the Tablighi Jamaat. However, it is wrong to look at this as a communal issue, this is in fact a community issue. It has nothing to do with the faith these people had. Tablighi Jamaat in Pakistan has also led to Covid-19 infections.   

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