Canada collecting blood from recovered coronavirus cases for clinical trials

Apr 30 2020, 1:20 pm

Canadian Blood Services wants to know if you’ve recently recovered from COVID-19.

The national agency has begun collecting plasma from recovered coronavirus cases as part of a national clinical trial, CONCOR, that is testing the safety and effectiveness of convalescent plasma as a treatment for those with the virus.

A release from Canadian Blood Services states that it received the first donation from a man in Vancouver this Thursday.

“I’m delighted to be able to help out a really good cause,” said Jerry Glubisz, Canadian Blood Services’ first COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor, in the release.

“I have been an active blood donor for 15 years. I’m pleased my unfortunate situation can help somebody else. I think I’m doing a little bit of good out of all this.”

It is hoped that the plasma of someone who has already fought off the virus will make it easier for those who are still fighting to recover.

“Convalescent plasma may help patients recover from COVID-19, but this has not yet been proven. Well-designed clinical trials, like CONCOR, will help provide the necessary information about whether this is a safe and effective treatment option for patients,” said Dr. Dana Devine, chief scientist with Canadian Blood Services, in the release.

“We’re making an important contribution to research on a global scale that could help patients in Canada and around the world.”

Canadians Blood Services is hoping that more recovered cases will be willing to donate their convalescent plasma to the trial, which can be done at any of the 11 donor centres located in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

There are currently 10 research teams and over 50 hospitals working on the CONCOR trial, and transfusions of the convalescent plasma will start being transfused within the coming weeks.

Those who are hoping to donate must be younger than 67 years old, have been previously confirmed positive for coronavirus by a laboratory test, have fully recovered, and have been symptom-free for at least 28 days prior to donating.

Canadian Blood Services is still accepting donations of regular plasma as well from those who are willing, though has suspended walk-in donations.