Urgent appeal for COVID-19 plasma donors in West Midlands

The blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can potentially save the lives of people who are still ill.

Pictured: Peter Mates donating blood plasma after recovering from COVID-19; he has the highest antibody levels of any donor so far.

NHS Blood and Transplant have issued a public appeal to those who have recovered from coronavirus in the West Midlands to donate convalescent plasma to help make sure there is enough if a second wave comes.

The blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can potentially save the lives of people who are still ill.

More than 1150 donations of convalescent plasma have been taken at an NHS centre in Birmingham, with around 14 people having received live-saving plasma transfusions in the West Midlands.

The welcome decline in new infections in the region means every potential donor is now even more valuable since antibody levels are at their highest soon after recovery.

Rajeev Verma, 52, a healthcare facilities manager from Wolverhampton, has the highest antibody levels of any Asian donor so far.

Rajeev said: “COVID-19 is very dangerous and it can attack anyone regardless of colour or creed. There are so many symptoms that you must endure and fight against.

“Donating plasma was a pleasant experience – the nurses were very supporting and reassuring. If I can help in the research and save someone’s life, I do so with great pleasure. It is better to give than to receive and I have now donated five times.”

Who can donate and how it works

People who have had a positive coronavirus test in the past are being asked to get in touch.

Men who have had symptoms but no test are also being asked to get in touch.

A spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Every new offer to donate is incredibly valuable. We particularly need men to come forwards as they generally have higher antibody levels.

“We urgently need as many people as possible who have recovered to donate. Donations can also be frozen to ensure convalescent plasma is readily available, should there be a rise in infections in the coming weeks.

“Please, help the NHS fight COVID-19 by donating. You could save lives.”

The donation takes around 45 minutes and your body usually takes 24 to 48 hours to replace plasma you’ve donated.

People can donate plasma as often as every two weeks and repeat donations are encouraged.

Potential donors are being prioritised according to who is likely to have higher antibody levels. Some people will be asked to make a short visit first to give a blood sample, to confirm their antibody levels are high enough.

You can find out more and offer to donate by calling 0300 123 23 23 or completing the online form at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk.