A new coronavirus named SARS-CoV2 has spread over large parts of the world in recent months. The virus, which causes respiratory infection and in some a serious respiratory illness, was declared a pandemic by WHO in March. Although most people experience mild infection, in vulnerable groups (the elderly, people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.), there is a tendency for serious illness and high mortality. There is no known specific treatment. Several antiviral drugs and vaccines are under wide trial but must first be shown to be safe and effective, and then scaled up so that Norway also has access. A vaccine for use in Norway is believed to be 12-18 months ahead. Treatment with blood from survivors (reconvalescence plasma) was already tested during the Spanish flu 100 years ago. Preclinical data and pilot studies for SARS and SARS-CoV-2 that have looked at a low number of patients (without randomization and control groups) have been promising. No neutralizing antibody titers have been performed.
Norwegian blood banks have, in collaboration with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, initiated a nationwide project, which is now headed by Oslo University Hospital, for identification of blood donors and/or reconvalescent centers after COVID-19, production of plasma containing protective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, and in collaboration with microbiological sciences, developing tests to characterize these antibodies. NORPLASMA COVID-19 Part 1 covers the production of reconstitution plasma from voluntary blood donors for this purpose.
2 research studies to assess the efficacy and safety of treatment with Reconvolutional sensing plasma is under planning and will be presented to REK in the near future (NORPLASMA COVID-19 Part 2).