Blood serum from animals can slash COVID severity: ICMR

The ICMR along with Biological E Limited have developed “highly purified antisera (raised in animals) for prophylaxis and treatment of the viral disease

Representative Image 
Representative Image


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in collaboration with a Hyderabad-based pharmaceuticals and biologics company have introduced a well-established treatment modality to control the severity of COVID-19 disease, the apex research institute informed on Thursday.

"The ICMR along with Biological E Limited have developed "highly purified antisera (raised in animals) for prophylaxis and treatment of the viral disease," it said.

Antisera are blood serum derived from animals which contain antibodies against specific antigens. They are injected to treat or protect against specific diseases. After plasma therapy, it is the latest therapy to be used to treat and prevent the severity of COVID-19 disease among the patients.

While plasma therapy could not derive a satisfactory result in reducing mortality of the severe patients of COVID-19, the ICMR has high hopes riding on the antisera therapy. "Although, plasma recovered from patients experiencing Covid-19 could serve a similar purpose, the profile of antibodies, their efficacy and concentration keep varying from one patient to another and therefore make it an unreliable clinical tool for patient management," the ICMR stated.

However, the therapeutic use of antisera is not new to medical science. The ICMR said that it has been used to control many viral and bacterial infections. Besides, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed it as a life-saving medicine.

"Such measures have previously been used in medical science to control many viral and bacterial infections such as Rabies, Hepatitis B, Vaccinia virus, Tetanus, Botulism and Diphtheria," the ICMR stated.

While the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment modality for Covid-19 has received authorisation for off-label use in India, a study conducted by the ICMR suggested that its administration did not reduce mortality or progression to severe COVID-19 condition among the patients.

The study, published on September 8, was conducted in 39 tertiary care hospitals across the country.
A total of 464 participants were enrolled between April 22 and July 14 in the trial which was aimed to investigate its effectiveness for treatment of COVID-19.

However, the ICMR did not share particulars related to clinical testing and trials of the antisera therapy on humans.

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