NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is urgently appealing for people who have had COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma. This plasma is being used in clinical trials to help the NHS treat COVID-19 patients.
NHSBT needs donors to come forward now from the first wave of infections to enable as many donations as possible to be taken now. Antibody levels are at their highest soon after recovery. The decline in new infections means every potential donor is now even more valuable.
There is evidence of patient benefit from the use of convalescent plasma, but the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma transfusions needs to be confirmed by a robust clinical trial. A successful trial will enable convalescent plasma to be an additional line of protection during any second wave. The trial results are expected later this year although dates will depend on the progress of the pandemic.
Donating plasma takes about 45 minutes. Your body usually replaces the plasma you’ve donated in 24-48 hours. Your body also quickly replaces the antibodies. People can donate plasma as often as every two weeks.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or its antibodies, or had symptoms of the virus, you may be able to donate plasma to help treat coronavirus patients. To volunteer as a plasma donor you must:
- be fit and healthy
- be aged 17 or over
- have a large enough blood volume (calculated by height and weight before you are invited to donate.)
There are a number of health, lifestyle and travel factors that can mean you are not able to give plasma. Please visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk for more details and to offer to donate.