Monday 20 April 2020 9:48 am

UK to trial using Covid-19 survivors' blood plasma for treatment

The United Kingdom is preparing to collect the blood from Covid-19 survivors to see if it can help create a treatment for the infection.

British doctors will investigate if convalescent plasma transfusions could improve an infected patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival.

Read more: Coronavirus: Government launches taskforce to develop vaccine

“NHS Blood and Transplant is preparing to collect Covid-19 convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from this illness,” a spokeswoman said. “We envisage that this will be initially used in trials as a possible treatment for Covid-19.”

“If fully approved, the trials will investigate whether convalescent plasma transfusions could improve a Covid-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival,” the blood service said.

“We are working closely with the government and all relevant bodies to move through the approvals process as quickly as possible.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Gilead drug remdesivir sparks optimism about treatment

People who have recovered from Covid-19 can register with the NHS if they are interested in donating plasma but they should not just turn up at blood donation centres.

Last week drugmaker Gilead confirmed a report in which its drug remdesivir led to a quick recovery in Covid-19 patients.

The University of Chicago Medicine’s trial recruited 113 people with severe Covid-19 to see how effective remdesivir was as a treatment. Two have died, but many others saw a rapid recovery that led to them being discharged.