The treatment, which has been given to a male patient at the Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), involves giving the person ‘convalescent plasma’, taken from the blood of people who have had Covid-19
The plasma can contain antibodies that the person’s immune system has produced in fighting the virus. Those antibodies can be used to help people fighting coronavirus whose bodies are struggling to produce their own.
The ‘RECOVERY Trial’, is being run by Oxford University and is looking at how effective the treatment is in helping patients recover from the virus.
The patient received the plasma earlier this month after both Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital received deliveries.
Eve Wilson, deputy head biomedical scientist for blood transfusion at SaTH, said they were pleased to be part of the trial, which has previously looked at the use of the steroid dexamethasone – finding that it reduced deaths in patients with severe breathing problems.
The findings were described as a “major breakthrough” in treating the disease.
Ms Wilson said: “We were keen to support the Research and Innovation Team in providing a potential treatment for patients at SaTH who have Covid-19.
“SaTH, led by Mandy Carnahan from the Research and Innovation Team, in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, joined the RECOVERY clinical trial in July.
“The trial consists of two units of convalescent plasma being given to selected patients receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19, one unit on day one and the second on day two.
“The Blood Transfusion Laboratory received a small stock of this new blood component at both the RSH and PRH sites at the beginning of August and earlier this month, the first patient at SaTH received the two doses.
“We are pleased to be playing our part in the crucial search for effective treatments for Covid-19.”
SaTH has been taking part in clinical studies looking at Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
So far 169 coronavirus patients have died at the trust.
The NHS is also urgently appealing for more men who have had coronavirus to donate blood plasma, as new statistics show far more women are offering to donate, despite men making better donors.
A spokesman said: “Since the convalescent plasma programme started, 63 per cent of all volunteers have been women.
“However men are far more likely to go on to donate a unit of plasma with a high level of antibodies.
“A man booked in to donate for the first time is three times more likely to give a high antibody unit of plasma than a woman booked in to donate.
“However, anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 could potentially donate convalescent plasma.”
For more information about the programme, including how to donate, visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-programme