Recovered COVID-19 patients could help others fight the virus
Two trials supported by NIHR are taking place at Barts Health hospitals to establish whether Covid-19 antibody treatments could save the lives of those with the virus.
Barts Health NHS Trust has now treated 30 Covid-19 patients with convalescent plasma in these ground-breaking clinical trials.
Convalescent plasma is the screened antibody-rich plasma of people who have recovered from coronavirus and can be transfused into admitted hospital patients with severe Covid-19 infection. These antibodies may reduce the severity of symptoms, especially when provided in the early stages of infection.
There is promising evidence for the effectiveness of convalescent plasma but before general use, patient benefits need to be demonstrated in randomised controlled trials.
If the trials’ results confirm that convalescent plasma can benefit Covid-19 patients, it could be provided by the NHS as an effective treatment against coronavirus, alongside treatments such as dexamethasone.
Both trials are supported by and are registered as part of the NIHR portfolio. The first, RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) was established in March this year and investigates the use of plasma transfusions amongst a range of potential treatments for patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
A second trial, REMAP-CAP, evaluates the use of convalescent plasma for patients admitted to intensive care after being diagnosed with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) as a result of coronavirus. There are a number of safe and effective treatments that are widely used for patients with CAP and the trial aims to determine which package of treatments works best.
To date, more than 200 patients have enrolled to take part in the trials across Barts Health hospitals, including The Nightingale, The Royal London, Whipps Cross and Newham. The Trust is supporting the urgent call for people who’ve had coronavirus to donate plasma at NHSBT’s West End Donor Centre so that the trials can continue.
Dr Simon Tiberi, Principal Investigator for the RECOVERY trial at Barts Health, said:
“It is likely we will only beat this virus through research. Our nations are united in conducting Covid-19 research through these trials, in hundreds of NHS hospitals, with thousands of patients.
“All patients admitted with Covid-19 in our hospitals are offered the chance to take part in a clinical trial and we are humbled that so many people have agreed. Convalescent plasma transfusions are an important part in our continued search for effective treatments for Covid-19 and we need many more people to donate.”
Prof Professor Dave Roberts, NHS Blood and Transplant Associate Director of Blood Donation, said: “We urgently need donors and would like to thank Barts Health for being a research site for these trials.
“We are using this plasma in a trial to show it is effective treatment, how best to use it and how to learn how many lives as possible can be saved.”
You can learn more about taking part in Barts Health Covid-19 research on the Barts Health website.
If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk