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Blood plasma treatment trial opens


Posted on Saturday 2 May 2020
Consultant Dr Manu Shankar-Hari

Intensive care consultant Dr Manu Shankar-Hari

A blood plasma treatment for COVID-19 is to be tested at Guy’s and St Thomas’ as part of a landmark trial.

The treatment, known as ‘convalescent plasma’ is being tested as a treatment for patients who are severely ill with COVID-19 as part of the national priority trial REMAP-CAP. Supported by the NIHR, REMAP-CAP is an international trial testing different treatments for patients who are severely ill with COVID-19.

As one of the top trusts in England for research, Guy’s and St Thomas’ research is playing a key part in halting the current pandemic, by identifying and testing COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics.

The ‘convalescent plasma’ treatment involves blood plasma donations from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. This plasma is transfused into COVID-19 patients whose bodies are not producing enough of their own antibodies against the virus, in an attempt to support the patients fighting the disease.

The trial is co-led by Dr Manu Shankar-Hari, a consultant in intensive care medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’, along with experts from NHS Blood and Transplant and the University of Cambridge.

The research lab run by Dr Shankar-Hari within the King’s College London School of Immunology and Microbial Sciences, is coordinating the underpinning science behind the convalescent plasma treatment.

Dr Shankar-Hari, who is also an NIHR Clinician Scientist and Reader and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at King’s College London, said: “At the moment, there is no proven treatment for COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is a promising treatment that could help patients whose bodies aren’t producing enough antibodies to curb the disease. This trial will help us understand whether the treatment should be used more widely to treat COVID-19.

“We are incredibly grateful to all the patients who are taking part in our COVID-19 trials and their families. At a difficult time for them, our patients are taking part in studies that will help us to understand more about how to treat the condition.”

To find out more about our research, including our work on COVID-19, please see our Research pages.


Frequently asked questions

Taking part in the trial as a patient: can I / my relative / partner / friend have this trial treatment?
Recruitment to our COVID-19 studies takes place on our COVID wards and within our ICU. Patients are only involved in clinical trials if they have certain characteristics. These are known as trial eligibility criteria. Patients in our care meeting these criteria, or their families, will be approached by our clinical teams about being involved in trials as part of their care.

Clinical referrals: I am treating a patient who may be suitable for inclusion in the convalescent plasma trial. Who should I contact?
Please contact r&dcomms@gstt.nhs.uk. Please do not provide identifiable patient data. Your email will be passed onto the REMAP-CAP convalescent plasma research team. You can also contact the REMAP-CAP team directly at ukremap-cap@icnarc.org

Contributing to the trial through plasma donation: how can I donate my plasma?
If you’re interested in donating your own plasma to be used as part of the trial, you can find out how you can help on the @NHSBT website at https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial/.

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