NHS appeal for those who have had Covid-19 to donate their blood plasma

The NHS is calling for people who have had Covid-19 to donate their blood plasma as a possible treatment for those suffering from the virus.

The process, which is similar to giving blood, only takes 45 minutes and can be used to help treat patients who aren’t producing enough of their antibodies to fight Covid-19.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Consultant Haematologist Professor Mike Murphy told Adil Ray and Kate Garraway: "We still need to confirm the effectiveness of the treatment in randomised clinical trials. They are the gold standard where some patients receive plasma, some patients don’t and we compare the results in the two, so we are urgently appealing for anyone who has suffered from coronavirus and recovered to come forward and donate plasma so that we have enough for the clinical trials and we can scale up production so there is enough to treat the patient and many more patients if the trials demonstrate that plasma is really effective."

On the day that Kate spoke on GMB about wanting to donate blood plasma to her husband Derek, 1,120 people who’ve survived Covid completed the webform to offer to donate convalescent plasma. On the previous three days, the average was 383, which means that on Monday registrations were 293% higher than the normal level.

Insisting that the process of donating blood plasma is "safe and easy," Professor Murphy said: "Hopefully it will make you feel good because you’re doing something for other people afterwards and you recover from the plasma donation very quickly. You make up the plasma within a few hours. You make up the antibodies to Covid that you donated in a few hours, and there’s no risk at all. So we’re really encouraging anybody who has recovered from Covid to come forward and donate." 

Asked to outline who can donate, Professor Murphy explained: "Anybody who has recovered from coronavirus for 28 days. We particularly want to collect plasma from those who are likely to have the highest levels of antibodies and we found from our testing that those are patients who have been treated in hospitals, men and people over the age of 35. We’re particularly appealing to them."

He continued: "Women who have had symptoms but no positive test, often have low levels of antibodies, but we’re very happy to test and to see if the level of antibodies is sufficient to collect plasma to go into the trials."

During the discussion, Adil and Kate also spoke to Ann Kitchen, who was the first person to receive the blood plasma treatment.

Explaining how she started to feel better a couple of days after the treatment, Ann said: "I hadn’t been eating very well but when a nurse came in with a cooked breakfast, I could smell it and I felt like I could eat for the first time. So for me, it felt like it was just a couple of days. I felt the difference." 

Visit nhsbt.nhs.uk for more information.