Could you donate plasma to help treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients? More details here
The first donations of the plasma have been collected and transfusions will start in the “coming weeks”, the hospital’s Biomedical Research Centre said in a statement.
It is hoped the possible treatment, known as convalescent plasma, will help Covid-19 patients whose bodies are not producing enough antibodies to fight the disease.
'It was a no brainer': Plasma donor talks about her ill husband and giving blood
If the trials prove effective, NHS Blood and Transplant will begin a national programme to deliver up to 10,000 units of convalescent plasma a week to the NHS.
That works out as roughly enough to treat 5,000 patients each week.
Dr Manu Shankar-Hari, who is leading the trial, said: “As a new disease, there are no proven drugs to treat critically ill patients with Covid-19.
“Providing critically ill patients with plasma from patients who have recovered… could improve their chances of recovery.”
Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock said: “This global pandemic is the biggest public health emergency this generation has faced and we are doing absolutely everything we can to beat it.
“The UK has world-leading life sciences and research sectors and I have every hope this treatment will be a major milestone in our fight against this disease.
“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.”
Coronavirus: Everything you need to know