Coronavirus: Could blood plasma from recovered patients offer hope?

Rob Waugh
·2-min read
Midsection of female doctor helping surgeon wearing surgical glove. Medical colleagues are preparing for surgery. They are standing in emergency room.
Could blood plasma from recovered patients offer hope? (Getty)

Doctors in both Britain and America are to trial treating patients with blood plasma harvested from those who have already recovered from the virus.

Doctors in Britain have drawn up plans to treat patients who are admitted to hospitals with pneumonia using blood plasma from “hyperimmune” patients.

Doctors hope that the treatment could reduce the number of patients on ventilators in intensive care units.

It could also be used to help front line NHS workers, the Guardian reported.

Donald Trump announced this weekend that America’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will allow the treatment to be tested in the US.

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President Trump said, “The FDA is also allowing the emergency use of a blood-related therapy called convalescent plasma.”

The treatment relies on “convalescent plasma” from patients who have recovered.

In the UK, researhers from the University of Glasgow have applied to the National Institute for Health Research to run clinical trials using plasma.

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Professor David Tappin of the University of Glasgow told the Guardian, “Start-up will need to be faster than is normal, with most other trials usually taking months or years to get approvals and to begin.”

“Trials need to be undertaken, otherwise we will not know if this intervention is effective and worthwhile.”

“It may not be a silver bullet, or it may work for instance to stem the development of Covid-19 infection in contacts such as healthcare workers and their families, but not perhaps be as effective to treat severely ill patients being ventilated.”

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Spain’s Grifols has agreed to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies to gather plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and test potential therapies for the disease, the pharmaceutical firm said.

The plasma will be processed to produce hyperimmune immunoglobins, which will then be put to pre-clinical and clinical tests to see if they can help treat the disease, Grifols said in a statement.

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