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19 January 2021

Convalescent Plasma trial draws to a close

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The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) wants to thank all donors who have made the effort to contribute to two of the world’s largest medical trials of Convalescent Plasma, RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP.

The REMAP-CAP trial reported Friday 8 January that Convalescent Plasma did not reduce the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units. 

The results of the RECOVERY trial, which reported [Friday 15 January], showed that Convalescent Plasma treatment did not reduce mortality rate in hospitalised patients with Covid-19. The trial has now stopped offering Convalescent Plasma as a potential treatment option. 

Dr Nicole Priddee, Consultant Haematologist for SNBTS said, "Over the course of the trial, 4,000 donors across Scotland, people who had previously recovered from Covid-19, came forward to donate Convalescent Plasma. The response from donors who had themselves been affected by Covid-19 was amazing and we're grateful for their support of these vitally important trials. The insight these volunteers, from all walks of life and all corners of the nation, gave clinicians, scientists and the medical world into possible treatments for Covid-19 has been invaluable.  

"We're very disappointed that the results of the trials show that Convalescent Plasma does not reduce the death rate of hospitalised Covid-19 patients. However, it's important that key scientific questions have been answered. We keenly await the more detailed review of trial results to guide our next steps for Convalescent Plasma use."

There are other clinical trials in the pipeline for the UK and ongoing worldwide, and the Convalescent Plasma collected will be used to support patients according to agreed clinical guidance. Many Convalescent Plasma donors have donated by whole blood, and their red cells have already been used to save or improve the lives of patients around Scotland. The pandemic is a major event in world history and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service has made a valuable contribution in the fight against Covid-19. 

Dr Priddee continued, "We also want to thank our staff who worked so hard to support this important clinical trial. We've always known SNBTS staff were incredible, but the intense pressure of the pandemic has proved that they are truly exceptional. We have discovered with effective collaboration, we have the people, the skills and the ability to fast-track development of a brand new process and would be capable of doing so for our Scottish patients again.  

"We've also developed new options for the collection of plasma that will continue to be used to optimise collection and balance our inventory for all blood-derived products." 

Plans are in place to prepare to rapidly increase plasma collection again, should the clinical trials demonstrate benefit in some clinical groups. While the trial teams are carrying out more detailed review of their results, SNBTS will continue a reduced collection of Convalescent Plasma by plasmapheresis and will continue to collect by whole blood. This allows us to be prepared to supply Convalescent Plasma for patients in the coming weeks, should that be required, whilst also providing red cells for patients in need. 

What does this mean for me?  

If you've donated Convalescent Plasma via whole blood donation, we'd ask that you continue to donate as you'd normally do. 

Giving blood is classed as essential travel during the pandemic, so please keep coming to donate. No matter what you give, you are saving lives. 

  • For more information about giving blood in Scotland visit scotblood.co.uk 
  • In Scotland, plasma has not been collected by plasmapheresis since 1998 so an entirely new processes was established throughout the country. This measured and balanced approach to collecting Convalescent Plasma enabled us to secure sufficient supplies to support the clinical trials as guided by our four UK Chief Medical Officers.  
  • For more detailed information about the results of the RECOVERY trial visit recoverytrial.net/news
  • For more detailed information about the results of the REMAP-CAP trial visit remapcap.org/

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Monday 08 March

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types