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UK hospital trials blood plasma treatment for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO – Police officers outside St Thomas’ Hospital after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care after his coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms worsened on Monday, in London, Britain April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – A top British hospital will use blood plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients as part of a trial that transfuses plasma from recovered people into sick people to give their immune systems a boost to fight the virus.

Since the novel coronavirus emerged in China late last year, it has killed more than 200,000 people worldwide and drug companies are racing to produce a vaccine though there is not yet any specific treatment.

London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said helped save his life after he fell gravely ill with COVID-19, is to test the so called “convalescent plasma” treatment as part of an international trial.

Blood plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 is transfused into sick patients whose bodies are not producing enough of their own antibodies against the virus.

“At the moment, there is no proven treatment for COVID-19,” said Dr Manu Shankar-Hari, a consultant in intensive care medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

“Convalescent plasma is a promising treatment that could help patients whose bodies aren’t producing enough antibodies to curb the disease,” he said. “This trial will help us understand whether the treatment should be used more widely to treat COVID-19.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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