On 25 April, the Department announced that the clinical trial REMAP-CAP was given approval to determine as part of a trial, if plasma donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can help those with the virus. NHS Blood and Transplant has started to collect convalescent plasma to supply to REMAP-CAP and the first transfusion took place last week.
In parallel with the trial, NHS Blood and Transplant is scaling up a national programme for collecting plasma so the treatment can be widely rolled out if it is shown to be effective. The collection of plasma will be ramped up by mid-May to deliver up to 10,000 units of plasma to the National Health Service every week, enough to treat 5,000 COVID-19 patients per week.
Convalescent plasma has been used as an effective treatment for emerging infections in the past, and this step forward underpins the Department’s scientific approach to fighting this virus.