An Imperial researcher discussed a trial giving UK COVID-19 patients blood plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus, in a recent talk.
Professor Anthony Gordon, Chair in Anaesthesia and Critical Care at Imperial College London and a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is leading a trial to investigate whether convalescent plasma transfusions improve the speed of recovery and chances of survival for patients with COVID-19. He was speaking at the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) COVID-19 online seminar series which took place earlier this month.
Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of someone who has recovered from a virus. The plasma contains antibodies which the body produces to fight infection. The idea is that this can then be transfused into infected patients whose immune systems are struggling to fight the infection.
There is some limited evidence that patients might benefit from the use of convalescent plasma, and the clinical trials are needed to confirm whether such transfusions are safe and effective.
Patients in more than 50 hospitals in the UK, including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, have received the treatment as part of the REMAP-CAP trial. As well as analysing convalescent plasma treatment, the trial will also assess other treatments such as antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-coagulants and high doses of vitamin C for patients who have severe pneumonia as a result of COVID-19.