A national trial to determine a possible COVID-19 treatment using blood plasma from those who have recovered from the coronavirus is getting underway.
In an April 2 news release, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) announced that it is working as part of national team cooperating with an international effort—that includes Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Germany, Italy, France, Singapore, the Netherlands, and South Korea—to develop a clinical trial using convalescent blood plasma.
CBS is awaiting approval from Health Canada to supply the convalescent plasma, along with Héma-Québec, to hospitals countrywide.
CBS chief scientist Dr. Dana Devine outlined the trial effort in the release: “We have the expertise and the infrastructure necessary to collect and prepare convalescent plasma for use in a clinical trial to test its safety and effectiveness as a treatment option. Plasma will only be collected from volunteer donors who have fully recovered from the virus and will be used by Canadian physicians caring for patients with COVID-19 in the context of the clinical trial.”
Regular CBS donor-eligibility criteria will apply to potential convalescent-plasma donors across the country, who will be contacted by the national nonprofit, which is regulated by Health Canada and funded mostly by provincial and territorial health ministries.
Blood plasma is the liquid component of blood and makes up more than half of its volume in the body. It transports the proteins, cells, hormones, and other substances in the blood that help fight infection, and it is important for treating victims of trauma in hospitals.
Antibodies that are produced in the body to fight viral infections remain in the system to combat any future infections by the same virus, and this is what is being explored as a possible treatment option for COVID-19 patients.
The trial is expected to take several months, according to the CBS.
The agency also reminded Canadians that regular blood donors are still very much in need for people requiring blood and blood products for surgeries, cancer treatments, injury emergencies, and blood disorders.
Visit here to find a donor centre near you and/or to book an appointment (or call 1-888-2-DONATE [1-866-236-6283]).
To view a video with Dr. Devine, go here.