25 September 2020
The first patient in Shropshire’s acute hospitals, who has tested positive for coronavirus, has been treated with plasma as part of a nationwide trial aimed at identifying effective treatments for the disease.
The treatment involves the administration of ‘convalescent plasma’ which is taken from the blood of people who have had COVID-19 (coronavirus) and which may contain antibodies that their immune systems have produced in fighting the virus.
The first patient at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford, received convalescent plasma earlier this month.
It’s effectiveness as a treatment for coronavirus is being explored as part of the RECOVERY trial which is being led by Oxford University.
The RECOVERY trial also looked at the use of the steroid dexamethasone, which has been shown to reduce deaths amongst patients with severe respiratory complications caused by coronavirus and has been described as a “major breakthrough” in the treatment of the disease.
SaTH has been successfully recruiting into clinical studies looking at COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Eve Wilson, Deputy Head Biomedical Scientist for Blood Transfusion at SaTH, said: “We were keen to support the Research and Innovation Team in providing a potential treatment for patients at SaTH who have COVID-19.
“SaTH, led by Mandy Carnahan from the Research and Innovation Team, in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, joined the RECOVERY clinical trial in July. The trial consists of two units of convalescent plasma being given to selected patients receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19, one unit on day one and the second on day two.
“The Blood Transfusion Laboratory received a small stock of this new blood component at both the RSH and PRH sites at the beginning of August and earlier this month, the first patient at SaTH received the two doses.
“We are pleased to be playing our part in the crucial search for effective treatments for COVID-19.”
The NHS is urgently appealing for more men who’ve had coronavirus to donate blood plasma as new statistics show far more women are offering to donate, despite men making better donors.
Since the convalescent plasma programme started, 63% of all volunteers have been women. However men are far more likely to go on to donate a unit of plasma with a high level of antibodies.
A man booked in to donate for the first time is three times more likely to give a high antibody unit of plasma than a woman booked in to donate. However, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 could potentially donate convalescent plasma.
For more information about the programme, including how to donate, visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-programme