There is mounting frustration amongst doctors as they are waiting for the government to approve coronavirus plasma therapy trials.
Plasma therapy extracts plasma from the blood of those who have recovered from coronavirus and the antibodies within is then given to patients in hospital who are sick, to help boost the immune system.
Dr Colin Hamilton-Davies leads the acute cardiac critical care unit at Bart’s Hospital in London 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.”
Dr Hamilton-Davies said, “it’s incredibly frustrating.
“It’s not only myself, but many colleagues are saying ‘why aren’t we looking at this in greater depth and in a faster timeframe?’
“There is a research framework which is up and running, which it may or may not become part of. I very much hope it does. This is something we could get up and running very quickly indeed.”
This treatment is being used by many other countries and was successfully used for Ebola, and Sars.
Dr Muhammad Munir, a molecular virologist at Lancaster University, told Sky News on Monday, “Plasma treatment is an interim solution and should be done at all costs because what we’re looking into is a vaccine for next year. The plasma is something we can offer and it is in our hands.
“It would be extremely disappointing if this effort shouldn’t be made in place – and especially at a time when so many people are recovering and they can be a valuable source of collection of the plasma.”
A spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We have well-established plans for dealing with new diseases, including the collection of convalescent plasma.”
The Treasury said the £14bn will help the NHS and local authorities.