LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom is preparing to collect the blood from COVID-19 survivors to investigate if convalescent plasma transfusions could improve an infected patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival.

“NHS Blood and Transplant is preparing to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from this illness,” a spokeswoman said. “We envisage that this will be initially used in trials as a possible treatment for COVID-19.”

“If fully approved, the trials will investigate whether convalescent plasma transfusions could improve a COVID-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival,” the blood service said.

“We are working closely with the government and all relevant bodies to move through the approvals process as quickly as possible.”

People who have recovered from COVID-19 can register with the NHS if they are interested in donating plasma but they should not just turn up at blood donation centres.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Alistair Smout and Michael Holden)