Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is now taking part in the national trial of convalescent plasma as treatment for the coronavirus
21 May 2020
Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19, which can be given to people who are struggling to develop an immune response to the illness.
The trial is examining whether this plasma can improve a COVID-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival. Patients who receive convalescent plasma will be transfused when they are in intensive care or ahead of possible admission into intensive care.
NHS Blood and Transplant is collecting plasma from people who have recovered and supplying the plasma to hospitals around the country – this now includes Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
In Leeds, convalescent plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 are currently being taken at Leeds Blood Donor Centre, operated by NHS Blood and Transplant.
Although there is some evidence of patient benefit from the use of convalescent plasma, the safety and effectiveness of convalescent plasma transfusions needs to be confirmed by a robust clinical trial.
Dr Heather Iles-Smith, Head of Nursing Research and Innovation for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust/ Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, University of Leeds said: “Convalescent plasma may have the potential to help patients whose immune systems aren’t producing enough antibodies. By taking part in this trial, we will help national research to understand whether convalescent plasma could be widely used”
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “We thank everyone who is donating convalescent plasma and we hope this treatment proves to be of benefit to patients at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
“Plasma donation is safe and easy and you could save lives. You’ll also be playing a part in world-leading research and treatment. If you get the call, please donate.”
The national convalescent plasma programme is being led by NHS Blood and Transplant and the results of the trial are expected in the late summer. Plasma donations can be frozen ahead of any second wave of disease.
Convalescent plasma donation takes about 45 minutes, during which time you can sit back and relax. Your body usually replaces the plasma you’ve donated in 24-48 hours and you can get on with your normal day after donating. Your body quickly replaces the antibodies and people can donate plasma as often as every two weeks.
NHSBT is contacting people using patient and donor information that is already holds. If people have a confirmed positive test result, people in Leeds can also provide their details through a form on the NHSBT website, www.nhsbt.nhs.uk
. NHS colleagues, and people who are already blood donors, are often able to donate successfully, and they are particularly welcome.
NHSBT is prioritising donors who are best placed to help so we there may be short delay in responding to some people.