Britain has approved the clinical trial of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to determine its efficacy in the battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic. A randomised clinical trial of the ‘convalescent plasma’ will be launched to determine whether it is effective for the treatment of severely ill patients.
The UK Health Department said that the collection of the plasma will be ramped up over April and May to deliver up to 10,000 units every week. The department added that it will be enough to treat 5,0000 COVID-19 patients as the plasma will be transfused to those who are struggling to produce their own antibodies against the virus.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement that the pandemic is the biggest public health emergency this generation has faced and the government is doing absolutely everything it can to beat the virus. Referring to the plasma trial, Hancock asserted that the UK has world-leading life sciences and research sectors and he has every hope this treatment will be a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19.
“Hundreds of people are participating in national trials already for potential treatments and the scaling up of convalescent plasma collection means thousands could potentially benefit from it in the future,” said the Health Secretary.
The National Health Service will use the plasma taken from patients at least 28 days after recovery so the antibody level increases by that time. Dr Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Blood and Transplant, said that they are rapidly building the capability to collect plasma so that they can quickly move into supplying hospitals at scale if the proposed trial demonstrates effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the UK has also started its first human trial of the vaccine developed by Oxford University. On April 23, two volunteers were injected with the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed and all eyes will be on the trial which could prove a major breakthrough in the fight against the virus.
(Representational Image: AP)