Plasma donor centre to open in Coventry as part of COVID-19 treatment trial

Coventrians are being urged to sign up to donate blood plasma as part of the world’s largest trial into possible COVID-19 treatments.

NHS Blood and Transplant are opening a new blood plasma donation centre in Coventry to keep up with demand as the world’s largest plasma trial for COVID-19 expands.

Coventry donor centre will open as one of 14 new plasma donation centres supporting two COVID-19 treatment trials.

The new centre will open in the next few weeks; the final venue is being agreed and is expected tp be announced shortly.

A spokesperson for the NHS explained that there is an urgent need for people in Coventry who’ve had COVID to register as donors sooner rather than later, so that they can be booked into appointments in advance.

The antibody-rich plasma of people who’ve had coronavirus can be transfused into people who are struggling to develop their own immune response to help slow or stop the virus spreading, which could save lives.

There is promising evidence for the effectiveness of convalescent plasma but before general use, patient benefit needs to be demonstrated in randomised control trials, hence the NHS’s trial.

Donations are urgently needed so that if the trial confirms patient benefit, plasma can be made readily available for general use in hospitals.

Already, more than 1,640 donations of plasma have been taken at the region’s first donor centre in Birmingham.

Coventry has been chosen as one of the 14 areas to get their own donor centres because it has a significant number of potential donors.

Professor David Roberts from the NHS said he would “love to see people in Coventry offering to donate. Donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives.”

Donating plasma takes about 45 minutes, while the entire visit – including the donation and prior checks – takes about 1 hour 15 minutes in total.

The body typically replaces any plasma taken from the body within 24 to 48 hours and replicates the donated antibodies in the new plasma.

If you’ve tested positive for coronavirus in the past or have experienced the symptoms, you can volunteer to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk.