Convalescent plasma programme
We are leading a programme to collect plasma to help with national clinical trials.
Plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 may save the lives of people who are still ill.
Two clinical trials are underway to confirm the safety and effectiveness of these transfusions. The trials are also exploring other treatments for people with COVID-19.
As part of these trials we are:
- collecting plasma from people who've had COVID-19
- managing the convalescent plasma aspects of the trials, including hospital set up and staff training
people have offered to donate
units of plasma have been collected
hospitals are taking part in the trials
Updated on 2 July 2020
What is convalescent plasma?
Plasma is a yellow-ish liquid in your blood that carries red and white blood cells and platelets around the body.
After a virus, your plasma contains antibodies used to help fight infection.
Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of someone who has recovered from a virus, in this case COVID-19.
Why is convalescent plasma important?
Plasma from people who've had COVID-19 may contain antibodies that their immune systems have produced in fighting the virus.
This plasma can be transfused to patients whose immune systems are struggling to develop their own antibodies.
We will use donations from people that have a high level of these antibodies in the trials.
We are working with NHS partners to identify potential convalescent plasma donors who have a confirmed positive test result and we will be making direct contact with people.
If you have tested positive for coronavirus or had clear symptoms you can also register your interest in becoming a plasma donor.
The work is at an early stage and we will be prioritising donors who are best able to help (such as existing blood donors), so there may be a delay before you hear back from us.
Donors with high levels of antibodies
We’ve found that some groups of people are more likely to have the high levels of antibodies needed for the trials. That means their plasma is most likely to save lives.
Donors who have tested highest for antibodies:
- are male
- are over 35
- were ill enough with COVID-19 to be treated in hospital
- are often from Asian communities