NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is urgently appealing for people in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge to donate convalescent plasma.
NHSBT needs as many donors as possible to come forward now from the first wave of infections to enable as many donations as possible to be taken now.
The welcome decline in new infections means every potential donor is now even more valuable. Antibody levels are at their highest soon after recovery. A successful trial will enable convalescent plasma to be an additional line of protection during any second wave.
Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We need people to offer to donate now so we are ready to potentially provide an additional line of protection during any second wave.
“The number of new infections has declined greatly which is fantastic news. Fewer people are getting Covid-19. This does mean we need to work harder to recruit new donors and we urgently need as many people as possible who have recovered to donate, to help us make as much progress as possible now.
“We especially need men who have recovered to donate because they have higher antibody levels. Donating plasma is safe and easy and you could save lives.”
Dr Magda Smith, Chief Medical Officer at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Plasma from people who have recovered from Covid-19 can be transfused into people who are still unwell and struggling to develop their own immune response. The plasma contains neutralising antibodies which could stop the virus spreading. If you’ve had coronavirus, please consider donating to help others.”
Although there is evidence of patient benefit from the use of convalescent plasma, the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 convalescent plasma transfusions needs to be confirmed by a robust clinical trial. The trial results are expected later this year although dates will depend on the progress of the pandemic.
Plasma donation takes about 45 minutes. Your body usually replaces the plasma you’ve donated in 24 to 48 hours. Your body also quickly replaces the antibodies. People can donate plasma as often as every two weeks.
If you’ve had coronavirus, please offer to donate by calling or 0300 123 23 23 or visiting the www.nhsbt.nhs.uk website.