A treatment for the coronavirus may be on the horizon.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is working with the international research community to determine if COVID-19 convalescent plasma could be an effective treatment for the coronavirus.
“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,” said Dr. Dana Devine, chief scientist for Canadian Blood Services in a news release April 2.
“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.”
CBS is representing Canada, working with an international team of experts in partnership with Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The research community in Canada has come together to design a national clinical trial on the use of convalescent plasma in treating the virus, though it is expected the trial will take several months to complete, due to its size and scope.
CBS says an application will be submitted to Health Canada shortly.
Pending approval, CBS and Héma-Québec will be responsible for supplying convalescent plasma to hospitals across the country.
Once the trial is underway, CBS will contact potential convalescent plasma donors based on defined criteria which will be approved as part of the clinical trial protocol.
Convalescent plasma donors will also need to meet current CBS donor eligibility criteria.
Convalescent plasma is collected through the plasma donation process. When someone contracts a virus, their body develops antibodies against it. The antibodies remain present in their plasma to shield them from possible future infection.
“In theory, these antibodies could be the key ingredient for a treatment to help others with the same virus,” states the release.
CBS is urging Canadians to donate blood in the next few weeks to help maintain an adequate supply of blood and blood products for patients.
To book an appointment visit blood.ca, download the GiveBlood app or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-866-236-6283).