NHS Blood and Transplant has opened the doors of its new plasma donation centre at 120 Bark Street in Bolton and has issued an urgent call to anyone who has had COVID-19 to register as a donor.
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.
Around 280 people are already booked in to donate at the centre. After becoming ill with coronavirus earlier this year, James Findlow was among the first to donate his plasma at the Bolton centre.
James, a football coach from Worsley in Manchester, said: “I was very keen to donate when I heard it could be useful. It’s such a small thing to do but must be a huge thing to receive. It’s very easy and all the staff were welcoming, caring and grateful. It was just 15 minutes from where I live, too.”
There are two additional plasma centres in Manchester, at Norfolk House and Plymouth Grove. Around 190 people have already received transfusions at hospitals in the Greater Manchester region as part of the trials.
Donations are urgently needed so that if the trials confirm patient benefit, plasma can be made readily available for general use in the NHS. You can register online by searching ‘donate plasma’.
Melanie Milloy, donor centre manager, said: “We would love to see people in Bolton 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 aged 18 years or over 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.
NHSBT especially needs 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 Bolton donor centre is now one of a number 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.
With centres also in Lancaster and Liverpool, over 2,800 people in the North West registered online as willing donors last week.
If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer today to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk or simply search online for ‘donate plasma’.
For requests or additional information, please contact the NHSBT press office on 01923 367 600 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHS Blood and Transplant is leading the UK trial for convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19. It is collaborating with more than 200 hospitals through the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trials, making it the world’s largest randomised clinical trial for this treatment.
NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation. Find out more at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk.