by Morinville News Staff
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) says it is actively working with Health Canada and the international research community to see if convalescent plasma could be an effective treatment for the coronavirus.
CBS says convalescent plasma gets collected through the plasma donation process. When someone contracts a virus, their body develops antibodies against it. Those antibodies stay present in their plasma to shield them from future infections. Theoretically, CBS says, the antibodies could be the key ingredient for a treatment to help others with the same virus.
CBS is currently representing Canada as part of a working group with several countries: Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“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. “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.”
Once the trial is underway, CBS says it will contact potential convalescent plasma donors based on defined criteria, which will be approved as part of the clinical trial protocol.
Convalescent plasma donors would also need to meet current Canadian Blood Services’ donor eligibility criteria. Presently, there is a small, but growing, number of people across Canada who could be eligible to participate as convalescent plasma donors in this trial.
CBS says a national clinical trial of this size and scope would require several months to complete.
They are calling on Canadians to donate blood in the next few weeks to help maintain an adequate supply of blood and blood products for patients.
Those wishing to book an appointment can visit blood.ca, download the GiveBlood app or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-866-236-6283.)