PEOPLE who have had Covid-19 are being asked to respond to an urgent call to donate blood plasma – and potentially save lives.
NHS Blood and Transplant has opened the doors of its new plasma donation centre at Kennett Place, on Kings Road in Reading.
So far, around 50 people have signed up, but the NHS is hoping that more will come forward.
Donations collected at the centre will be used in clinical trials to determine whether the antibody-rich blood plasma found in people who’ve had coronavirus – known as convalescent plasma – could be an effective treatment for the virus.
The plasma is transfused into patients who are struggling to develop their own immune response. The antibodies could slow or stop the virus spreading, which could save lives.
Once the trials are complete, it will confirm if it can be rolled out across the NHS.
Donna Blofield, donor centre manager, said: “We would love to see people in Reading offering to donate so we can book them into donation appointments now. Donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives. Your body quickly replaces the antibodies afterwards.”
Anyone over 17 who has had COVID-19 can offer to donate blood plasma donor. Donating is easy – it takes just 45 minutes and the whole appointment, including time for snacks, lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
However, there is a need for more male and BAME donors to come forward as their plasma is more likely to contain the higher levels of antibodies required.
People who needed hospital treatment are especially likely to have high antibody levels.
The Reading donor centre is now one of a number of centres around the country. By the end of this year, there will be 42 plasma donation points across England so that 80% of potential donors can reach one within 45 minutes.
To volunteer to donate plasma visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk or search online for ‘donate plasma’.