Barts Health NHS Trust has now treated 30 Covid-19 patients with convalescent plasma in ground breaking national clinical trials, RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP.
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 benefit needs to be demonstrated in controlled and randomised trials.
If the trials’ results confirm that convalescent plasma benefits Covid-19 patients, it could be provided by the NHS as an effective treatment against coronavirus, alongside other treatments such as dexamethasone.
Two clinical trials, RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP, are taking place at Barts Health hospitals to establish whether a range of potential treatments, including Covid-19 convalescent plasma, benefit patients and at what point in their illness they should be treated.
RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) was established in March 2020 as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and looks at whether plasma transfusions could save the lives of people with coronavirus.
The REMAP-CAP trial enrols patients admitted to intensive care who have been diagnosed with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) as a result of Covid-19.
There are a number of safe and effective treatments that are widely used for patients with CAP and the trial randomises patients to different treatment arms, including convalescent plasma, with the aim of determining the best package of treatments works best for patients.
Clinical research staff have to date enrolled more than 200 patients into RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP 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 these 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.”
Learn more about taking part in Barts Health Covid-19 research on our website.
If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk