PARIS (AFP) – France will begin clinical trials involving transfusions of blood plasma from coronavirus survivors to patients with severe symptoms in order to treat the disease, the institutions concerned announced on Saturday 4 April.
Drug manufacturers are rushing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the pandemic, which has killed more than 60,000 people since the first appearance of the coronavirus in China in December.
Plasma, the fluid in the blood that is full of antibodies after illness, has already been shown to be effective in small studies to treat infectious diseases, including Ebola and Sars.
French trials are slated to begin on Tuesday, according to a joint statement from the Parisian hospital authority AP-HP, the national medical research institute INSERM and the national blood company EFS.
“This clinical trial involves the transfusion of plasma from patients who have recovered Covid-19, which contain antibodies to the virus, and who may transfer this immunity to a patient with Covid-19,” he said.
“The plasma of people who have recovered contains these antibodies that their bodies have developed. These antibodies could help patients at an acute stage of the disease to fight the virus. “
The trials will involve 60 patients from Paris hospitals, half of whom will receive plasma from people who have recovered.
He said the first results could be known two to three weeks after the tests. The US Food and Drug Administration has already authorized doctors to experiment with the coronavirus strategy. Tests are also underway in China.