Blood transfusions from recovered patients could save critically ill COVID 19 patients. For the trial, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has started to collect blood from recovered patients. Although the plasma transfusions are not a solution to this crisis, the antibody-rich serum can be used to improve immune systems of patients battling with the virus.
Peter Horby will lead the recovery trial at the University of Oxford which will evaluate if the plasma treatments will help the patients get better before they are admitted to Intensive care. Meanwhile, the Remap-Cap trial led by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) in London will assess if the transfusions will save seriously ill patients who are in intensive care units.
Due to the shortage of donated serum from recovered patients, another trial was rejected by NHSBT. This trial was aimed to evaluate if the treatments worked on people such as healthcare workers, first responders, and family members who are in contact with COVID-19 patients but otherwise healthy.
The convalescent plasma therapy used in the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 is sure to bring new hope to critically ill COVID-19 patients. An immunity system of a patient with COVID-19 generates antibodies to attack the virus. After a certain time, the antibodies are found in the recovered patient’s liquid portion of the blood, the plasma. The transfusions with the presence of high levels of antibodies will enhance the immune defenses of the recipient. The clinical trials will ensure if convalescent plasma therapy is safe and effective.
Patients who are aged between 17 and 66 can make blood donations. However, these patients should be recovered at least 28 days ago as it is the time required to be certain that antibodies are present in the blood. Patients who are willing to donate can do it at one of the 23 main centers which are opened across England.
Extreme approval measures are taken during the clinical trials to protect the patients and evaluate effectiveness. Similar plasma trials are happening across the world.