Following a successful collaboration between the South African National Blood Service and the Western Cape Blood Service to collect convalescent plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19, the first patient hospitalised with COVID-19 has been enrolled in the PROTECT-Patient clinical trial. This trial is focused on establishing whether transfusion with convalescent plasma improves the outcome of patients with moderate and severe COVID-19. The blood services would like to thank the 298 blood donors who have already donated their convalescent plasma to this clinical trial and appeal to others who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate for this worthy cause.

Establishing whether convalescent plasma is a viable treatment for COVID-19 is an important part of developing an arsenal of treatment options if South Africa were to have a second wave of infections before the large scale availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Should the treatment prove effective, South Africa would be selfreliant in providing convalescent plasma treatment to all patients, whether in the public or private sector. In addition, the systems developed during this project will ensure a rapid response should the country ever be faced with a similar crisis in the future

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