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Blood transfusion trial begins for COVID-19 patients in UK

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Trials have begun in the UK to test the effectiveness of blood plasma transfusions in treating patients suffering from COVID-19.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have started delivering the first units of convalescent plasma, which contains the antibodies of people who have recovered from coronavirus, to hospitals in England. In total, 14 units have been supplied to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The first transfusions have been administered, NHSBT confirmed on Wednesday, though the efficacy of the treatment will not be known until the trial ends.

Seven hospitals are currently taking part in the trials, which will assess a patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival, with more expected to join in the coming months as the number of people eligible to donate blood plasma increases.

As of Tuesday, more than 6,500 people had signed up while around 400 donations had been made. Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re delighted the first patients are receiving convalescent plasma transfusions thanks to the generosity of our donors."

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Source: The Independent, 7 May 2020

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