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More blood plasma donors needed as hospital use rapidly rises

10 November 2020

New figures show the rising need for people who have had COVID to donate blood plasma.

Last week, 662 people were randomised into the plasma arm of the RECOVERY trial, the highest figure yet.

The antibodies in donated plasma could save the lives of people who still have the virus.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “These figures show why we urgently need people who’ve had coronavirus to donate now.

“Demand is rising rapidly. We want as many people as possible to receive plasma and to do that we need as many people to offer to donate as possible.

“We especially need men to donate as they are more likely to have high enough antibody levels for the trial.

“We think the increase is partly the result of the national rise in coronavirus cases and partly the result of more hospitals taking part in plasma arms of the trials.”

NHS Blood and Transplant is collaborating with the REMAP-CAP and RECOVERY platform trials.

This is the largest randomised control trial of convalescent plasma in the world. Half of the people randomised into the trials receive plasma transfusions.

Around 10,000 units of high antibody plasma have been collected so far. Trial results could now come before the end of the year.

Donating plasma

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.

Donating is easy. It takes 45 minutes and the whole appointment, including time for snacks, lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

By the end of this year, there will be 42 plasma donation centres across England so that 80% of potential donors can reach one within 45 minutes.

If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer today to donate plasma by completing our online form.