Doctor furious at delays in coronavirus plasma therapy trials

Dr Colin Hamilton-Davies at Bart’s Hospital in London has expressed frustration at the governments lack of approval for the potentially life saving treatment.

The experimental treatment involves extracting plasma from recovered patients blood and giving it to those who are critically ill in a way similar to a vaccine.

The theory behind the trials is that recovered patients antibodies will be able to boost the immune systems of those suffering.

Trials for the treatment are underway in China, France, German and the US.

They have yet to be given the go ahead by the government to begin testing.

Dr Hamilton-Davies, leader of the acute cardiac critical care unit at Bart’s Hospital, has spent 30 years researching these types of treatment.

He believes it may save lives if testing begins immediately.

The doctor said: “We have a national health service and blood service that is the envy of the world, we have a very substantially-sized department of blood transfusion, and for people harvesting blood plasma, we could step it up within a week.

"We could be administering it, not just to one or two people, but hundreds of patients."

READ MORE: Coronavirus cure hope: Blood of recovered victims helps ICU patient come off ventilation

There are currently no known effective treatments for COVID-19, according to the latest data on Monday.

Studies have mainly explored antivirals and steroids as ways to try and beat the disease.

Many say however that plasma therapy shouldn’t be ruled out, as it hasn’t been fully tested.

Similar treatments have been used with success on Ebola and SARS, leading experts to suggest it for COVID-19 patients.

Dr Hamilton-Davies has written to Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab offering his expertise in the field of plasma therapy.

The Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister responded last week, sending a letter to the Health Secretary asking about the use of plasma therapy.

No decision has been made on when trials will start.

A spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant said: "We have well-established plans for dealing with new diseases, including the collection of convalescent plasma.

"We are working closely with government and other NHS bodies to look at the ways in which we can best support work being undertaken to tackle COVID-19."

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