Representative Image.
Representative Image.

COVID-19: 'Antisera' an efficient alternative to convalescent plasma, says ICMR

ANI | Updated: Oct 01, 2020 23:33 IST

New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): In a breakthrough, the country's top medical research body - the India Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has developed highly purified antisera (raised in animals), which may be an efficient alternative to convalescent plasma for prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
According to the ICMR, in the current state of the pandemic, due to the unavailability of approved specific vaccines and drugs for the treatment of SARS-Co-V2, an urgent need for therapeutic strategies are required as human convalescent plasma has not met the desired results.
For this purpose, the apex research body collaborated with Biological E. Limited, Hyderabad.
"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. 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," said ICMR in a tweet.

"Standardization achievable through equine sera based treatment modality thus stands out as yet another remarkable public health initiative supported by ICMR in the time of COVID19," it added.
For the study, ten healthy horses were immunised with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus. After 21 days of immunisation, plasma samples were tested by IgG ELISA and PRNT for the detection of antibodies against the virus. The results of the plasma samples obtained from horses indicated the presence of SARS-Co-V2 specific IgG antibodies.
"This ICMR study suggests promising efficacy and therapeutic potential of equine hyper-immune sera against coronavirus. Equine antiserum is now known to be safer and can be prepared in bulk at a lower cost," Dr Lokesh Sharma, Scientist at the ICMR said.

He added, "This indigenously developed product is cost-effective and will pave the way for clinical evaluation. Additionally, being a donor independent method, this may prove as an efficient alternative to convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 patients." (ANI)