Horse serum may be used for COVID-19 treatment
#GS3 #Biotechnology #COVID19
Equine serum may get approval for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment in India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Balram Bhargava said at a press conference October 6, 2020.
- Convalescent plasma did not really help in beating COVID-19, an ICMR-sponsored study, the results of which were published last month, had said. However, it still continues to be a part of our clinical management of COVID-19 protocol.
- He also revealed another interesting fact. Preliminary studies on equine serum conducted in labs in India had shown it produced required antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- What is the relation between convalescent plasma and equine serum? Convalescent plasma of a COVID-19-recovered patient is transfused due to the belief that it would contain antibodies developed after infection. This, in turn, would prove useful for another COVID-19 patient.
- Equine serum also contains antibodies and has been used for treatment in cases of snakebite.
- A trial done by a few agencies in Brazilian laboratories has showed that equine serum, generated after horses were inoculated with SARS-CoV-2, contained 50 times more antibodies than convalescent plasma. However, its widespread use in other countries is not heard of; neither has the World Health Organization talked about it.
- Bharagava said since animal models had shown positive results for this therapy, human clinical trials would now be conducted. He, however, did not clarify whether equine serum would be used as an alternative to convalescent plasma if the results in the clinical trials on the former were positive.
Ayush protocol without trials
- The Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (Ayush) released a detailed protocol October 6 not only for the treatment of COVID-19 patients but also to prevent the disease. A host of Ayurveda drugs are a part of it.
- Ayush ministry secretary V R Kotecha claimed at the press conference that the drugs had been included on the basis of clinical evidence. However, the clinical evidence about the utility of those drugs has been established in the context of other diseases and not COVID-19.
- “Various clinical trials of Ayush drugs for use in COVID-19 are going on. The protocol has been released on the basis of trends of these studies that has emerged so far,” Kotecha said in this regard. He used ‘trends’ several times in his answers but could not cite a single clinical study that has been completed in the context of COVID-19.