Plasma of recovered coronavirus patients could help new Covid-19 cases: Blood banks

From this week, blood banks under Sanquin are testing whether blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients can help new patients. Health service GGD will contact recovered patients and ask them to make contact with the blood bank.

Participants will be asked to donate blood plasma a total of four times, at seven day intervals. Sanquin will remove the antibodies from cured patients' plasma and process it into Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP), which can be given to Covid-19 patients via transfusion. 

"Doctors can then investigate whether the antibodies from the plasma fight the virus and help the patient reduce the physical response to the virus," Sanquin said. "This may save people an admission to the ICU, or perhaps, with further development, even hospital admission." 

Sanquin will also start turning the FFP into an immunoglobulin, so that it can be taken as a medicine instead of a blood product.

The blood bank stressed that this is not yet a treatment for Covid-19, only a study to see how patients react to antibodies produced by recovered patients. "It is also expected that the required plasma will be a scarce commodity and that it will take time to collect it sufficiently. It will have to come from patients who have been cured for two weeks and who want to donate."