Convalescent plasma trials

We have stopped collecting plasma for clinical research into treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19).

A donor carer checks a donor's veins

The NHSBT Clinical Trials Unit was responsible for the management of the convalescent plasma aspects of two trials - REMAP-CAP and RECOVERY.

Interim analysis from the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trials has shown no overall benefit for people in hospital care. Both trials are still analysing whether plasma could benefit subgroups of patients, such as people with low natural antibody levels.

International trials are also testing if plasma helps people when it's used much earlier in the disease, before people get to hospital. Early use could help some of the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those with weak immune systems. 

The REMAP-CAP trial

The REMAP-CAP trial was an international trial into the best range of treatments for people with COVID-19. It was an adaptive trial which meant different treatments could be added over time and patients could receive different treatments. 

The convalescent plasma treatment in this trial was for people who had been in intensive care for less than 48 hours and have tested positive for COVID-19.

People who received plasma as part of their treatment had two transfusions over two days and were monitored for 21 days to see how effective this was.

The trial paused enrolment for patients in intensive care in January 2021 and began to analyse the data.

The initial analysis of all trial patients requiring intensive care unit support showed that convalescent plasma did not improve outcomes. The final analysis is in progress and the results of this are awaited.

The REMAP-CAP trial in intensive care patients was jointly led by:

  • Dr Lise Estcourt and Prof David Roberts - NHSBT Clinical Trials Unit and University of Oxford
  • Prof David Menon - University of Cambridge
  • Dr Manu Shankar Hari - Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London

Visit the REMAP-CAP trial website to find out more.

Plasma bag

The RECOVERY trial

The RECOVERY trial compared different treatments that may be useful for people with COVID-19.

In this trial, we worked on the effectiveness of convalescent plasma for treating patients with COVID-19 who are in hospital, but not in intensive care.

The RECOVERY trial asked hospitals to stop randomisations of patients into convalescent plasma on 15 January 2021.

The results did not show evidence that convalescent plasma has an overall benefit on patient outcomes in moderately ill people.

Additional analyses will be performed, looking in more detail at the dose of neutralising antibodies that each patient received.

The RECOVERY trial is led by:

  • Prof Peter Horby - University of Oxford
  • Dr Lise Estcourt and Prof David Roberts - NHSBT Clinical Trials Unit and University of Oxford

Visit the RECOVERY trial website for more information.

Donor holding plasma bag

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