When a person has Covid-19, their immune system responds by creating antibodies, which attack the virus. Over time these build up and can be found in the plasma, the liquid portion of the blood. The hope is that the antibodies they have built up will help to clear the virus in others
UK is going to use the blood of coronavirus survivors to treat hospital patients ill with the disease.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) wants people who recovered from Covid-19 to donate blood so they can potentially assess the therapy in trials, reports BBC.
When a person has Covid-19, their immune system responds by creating antibodies, which attack the virus. Over time these build up and can be found in the plasma, the liquid portion of the blood.
NHSBT is now approaching patients who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate blood for starting the plasma trial. The hope is that the antibodies they have built up will help to clear the virus in others.
A statement from NHSBT said, "We envisage that this will be initially used in trials as a possible treatment for Covid-19."
"All clinical trials have to follow a rigorous approval process to protect patients and to ensure robust results are generated. We are working closely with the government and all relevant bodies to move through the approvals process as quickly as possible." it added.
Several groups in the UK have been looking into using blood plasma.
Professor Sir Robert Lechler, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences said, "I would be disappointed if we weren't able to see some patients given this form of therapy within a couple of weeks. Let's hope that the NHSBT national trial gets into gear really quickly."
Meanwhile, the US had already started its plasma trial three weeks ago which has treated 600 patients so far.
Prof Michael Joyner, from the Mayo Clinic, is leading the work.
He said: "The thing we've learned in the first week of administration is that no major safety signals have emerged and administration of the product does not appear to be causing a whole lot of unanticipated side effects."
He said the therapy was "rough and ready".
"There's a lot we don't understand about the plasma. We're going to learn more about what's in the plasma, the components, the antibody levels, and other factors that may be there as the weeks go on. But sometimes, as a physician, you just have to try to take a shot on goal when you have a shot." he added.