Patients play vital role in research into COVID-19 plasma treatment

Graham Elliott - Plasma Patient.jpeg
Graham Elliott is now recovering well at home

A patient at Peterborough City Hospital has been one of seven who has participated in the most recent COVID-19 plasma research trial.

Graham Elliott, aged 68 from Peakirk, is one of seven patients at the Trust to receive convalescent plasma as well as the usual standard of care as part of the study.

Convalescent plasma is antibody-rich blood plasma that has been donated by someone who has recovered from COVID-19. The antibodies could help stop the virus spreading in someone who is struggling to develop an immune response.

Graham, who has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), was blue-lighted into hospital after experiencing difficulty breathing and spent two weeks receiving treatment for COVID-19. He was approached by his doctor and asked to take part in the research trial.

He said: “It is important that we find treatments for this virus. I wanted to be able to help in some way, and taking part in research has given me the opportunity to do that. I was given two rounds of convalescent plasma during my stay on B12, which was administered through the cannula in my arm and was painless.”

Both Peterborough City and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals have played a vital part in research in treatments for COVID-19.

More than 200 patients at the hospitals have taken part in the national RECOVERY trial to determine whether or not any of the possible new treatments are more or less effective than those currently used to treat patients with COVID-19.

Dr Jakki Faccenda and Research Team at Peterborough City Hospital.jpg
Dr Jakki Faccenda and Research Team at Peterborough City Hospital

Respiratory Consultant, Dr Jakki Faccenda, has been working with the research team and frontline clinical staff to recruit patients to the study.

She said: “The initial findings have been promising and the study has already shown that dexamethasone, a drug used in a wide range of conditions to reduce inflammation, cuts the risk of death by a third for patients on a ventilator and one fifth for patients receiving oxygen. We are already implementing this as standard during our treatment of this virus now and we are learning more as the month’s progress.

“This is a great opportunity for us to be involved with this national research trial, which could deliver potentially life-saving treatment for our patients. The feedback so far has been very positive and we will continue to recruit additional patients to help us find out the best way to treat this virus. We thank everyone who is donating convalescent plasma around the country.

The trial is now looking at the effectiveness of other treatments including, Azithromycin, convalescent plasma (plasma taken from those who have already recovered from Covid-19) and Tocilizumab.

We are pleased to report that Graham was discharged and has now recovered.

Dr Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Blood and Transplant, which is collecting convalescent plasma for the RECOVERY trial, said: “It’s fantastic to see Graham and other convalescent plasma recipients recovering at home with their families.

“Transfusions are only possible thanks to donors. We need people who have recovered from COVID-19 to offer to donate, especially men, as they have higher antibody levels. 

“You will help potentially save the lives of seriously ill people.

“More than 100 people have received transfusions so far and we’re working with Peterborough City Hospital and hospitals around the country through the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP platform trials.”

“Convalescent plasma therapy is a promising treatment for COVID-19 and we expect to have the trial results later this year. If the trials are successful, we want to have significant stocks ready to release for general use in hospitals.”

The RECOVERY trial (The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation, and is led by the University of Oxford. As of 13 July 2020, there were 12,042 participants taking part in the RECOVERY trial at sites across the country. 

·         You can offer to donate convalescent plasma at