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King's scientists lead blood plasma treatment trial

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

An illustration of the coronavirus by the US CDC

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.

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, Reader and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at King’s and 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 School of Immunology and Microbial Sciences, is coordinating the underpinning science behind the convalescent plasma treatment.

Dr Shankar-Hari 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.”

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Manu Shankar-Hari

Manu Shankar-Hari

NIHR Clinician Scientist, Reader and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine