NewsHealthThe Health Secretary recovered from the coronavirus after contracting it in March, making him eligible to give plasma
Saturday, 25th April 2020, 5:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th April 2020, 5:36 pm
The Health Secretary fell ill with the virus in March, and has since recovered.
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He announced his participation in the trial on Twitter on Saturday, posting a picture of himself giving blood.
“This hugely important clinical trial will help our NHS treat #coronavirus patients using plasma,” his caption read.
“If you're asked, please take part. It's painless.”
He added: "The UK has world-leading life sciences and research sectors and I have every hope this treatment will be a major milestone in our fight against this disease.
"Hundreds of people are participating in national trials already for potential treatments and the scaling up of convalescent plasma collection means thousands could potentially benefit from it in the future."
UK 'leading world's largest Covid-19 treatment trials'
Convalescent plasma was used as an effective treatment during the Sars outbreak in 2002.
Officials say the UK is leading the world’s largest trials to find a treatment for Covid-19 with over 7,000 people so far involved testing a range of medicines. NHS blood services will now contact people who have recovered from Covid-19 infection to become potential donors and invite them to their centres across the UK.
Dr Gail Miflin, chief medical officer at NHSBT, said: “As well as continuing to collect enough blood throughout this outbreak, we are also heavily involved in the national research response including major trials of this potential treatment.
"We are rapidly building our capability to collect plasma so that we can quickly move into supplying hospitals at scale, should the proposed trial demonstrate patient benefit.”
Blood donations 'ramped up' to aid potential treatment
“The potential for convalescent plasma to aid those suffering from Covid-19 has to be confirmed through clinical trials," Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health in Scotland, added. "I am delighted to see the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and Scottish donors will be playing a key part."
The government is also scaling up the national programme for collecting plasma so the treatment can be widely rolled out if it is shown to be effective following the trial.
The collection of plasma is expected to be ramped up during April and May to deliver up to 10,000 units of plasma to the NHS every week, enough to treat 5,000 Covid-19 patients per week.