Canadian Blood Services in Charlottetown is hoping Islanders who have had COVID-19 will consider making a plasma donation, as part of a national clinical trial to test whether COVID-19 convalescent plasma could help treat patients with the virus.
Blood plasma from recovered patients — called “convalescent plasma,” is expected to be rich in virus-fighting immune molecules called antibodies, produced by the body in response to infection.
“They’ve developed antibodies to fight off the virus during their illness,” said Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations for Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada
“And after you’re recovered, those antibodies remain in your plasma, so they shield you from the possibility of any future infection. And in theory there’s potential that those could be key ingredients for the treatment to help others who would contract that same virus.”
The trial involves 11 research teams and 50 hospitals across the country. Researchers are hoping to collect convalescent plasma from 1,200 COVID-19 patients across Canada. So far in Atlantic Canada, there has been one donation in New Brunswick, one is scheduled to take place in Halifax this week and MacDonald is hopeful at least a few will come from P.E.I.