NHS Blood and Transplant is appealing people in London to offer to donate plasma if they have recovered from Covid-19, following a positive test or illness with the symptoms.
Their potentially antibody-rich plasma can be transfused into seriously ill people who still struggling to develop an immune response to the illness.
NHSBT is seeking interest from people who have recovered from the disease and who are also able to travel to one of our donor centres. They can give their details at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk or to phone the 0300 123 23 23 donor line.
To provide the maximum benefit to patients, donors will prioritised according to who is likely make a successful donation and there may be a delay in replying to some people. People will need to meet the blood donor criteria and not everyone who gets in contact will be able to donate.
The plasma donation will be tested to confirm there are antibodies. People will not be tested before they donate their plasma.
Potential donors would need to be able to travel by appointment to one of:
- West End Blood Donor Centre in Westminster
- Edgware Blood Donor Centre in Barnet
- Tooting Blood Donor Centre in Wandsworth
From 18 May more than 52 people are booked into to donate at Edgware Donor Centre, more than 70 people at the West End Donor Centre, and more than 61 people at Tooting Donor Centre.
People can only donate 28 days after recovery and London had higher than average early infection rates, so there are significant number of eligible local donors.
NHSBT is not currently making a donor appeal across the whole country, only in Manchester, London and Birmingham. In other areas, NHSBT is currently contacting people using existing donor and patient information.
NHSBT is collecting the plasma initially for use in a trial, and if the trial is successful, widespread use in hospitals.
Transfusions are now being carried out although the effectiveness of plasma treatment will not be known until the trial finishes. Results are expected in the late summer. Plasma can be frozen ahead of any second wave of infection.
Plasma donation takes around 45 minutes. Your blood is circulated back to you as the plasma is removed. Your body replaces the plasma within 24-48 hours and you can carry on with a normal day afterwards.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “Please help your NHS fight Covid-19. If you are a Londoner who can travel to a donor centre and you have tested positive or had symptoms, donate plasma to help beat coronavirus.
“We thank everyone who is already donating convalescent plasma in London. We know many people who can donate will have been through a difficult experience and we are grateful for their help.
“We can reassure people that convalescent plasma donation is safe and easy and you could save lives.”