Urgent request for Asian people who’ve had COVID to donate plasma

21 August 2020

The NHS is now urgently asking Asian people who have had coronavirus to offer to donate convalescent plasma.

Asian people are far more likely to have the antibody rich plasma which could save the lives of people with coronavirus.

A man smiles while he donates plasmaPeople from South Asian backgrounds have been badly affected by coronavirus and plasma could be a lifesaving treatment.

Donations are urgently needed now, ahead of any second wave during the autumn.

Asian people have been donating in strong numbers. Around 7% of all plasma donors so far have been from the Asian community. (1)

They have also higher antibody levels. Asian donors are around twice as likely to have high enough antibodies for their donations to be used in the trial, compared to white people. (2)

Rekha Anand, Consultant Haematologist for NHSBT, said: “We have had a fantastic response from the Asian community. COVID-19 is attacking the Asian community more than the wider community and donating plasma could save a life.”

Dr Suhail Asghar, from NHSBT’s Clinical Support Team, said: “Some people may feel nervous about donating, particularly if they’ve had a tough time with coronavirus. Our donation team will look after you and people usually feel fantastic after donating, knowing they are doing something to help the community.”

Dr Naim Akhtar, a Consultant in Donor Medicine for NHSBT, said: “Plasma donation is a way to help those who are in need. By donating plasma, you could help someone to survive from COVID and spend more time with their family.”

Dr Shruthi Narayan, a Consultant Donor Medicine for NHSBT said: “Plasma donation is safe, clean and easy. It takes about 45 minutes and your body quickly replaces the plasma and the antibodies. Because your red blood cells are returned to you, you can carry on with your day as normal.”

There are plasma donor centres in cities and towns around the country with significant Asian communities, including Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridge, Edgware, Gloucester, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Stratford, Bexleyheath, Twickenham, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Poole, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke, Tooting, and London’s West End. 

Find out more about where you can donate plasma


  1. Excluding donors where ethnicity was unknown: 1191 of 16,033 donors booking appointments were Asian (7.4%) 727 of 10,806 donors bled were Asian (6.7%) 345 of 3,125 donors providing high enough antibody donations were Asian (11.0%) (figures until 28 July)

  2. Of Asian first-time donors, 44.1% (330/749) had high enough antibodies for the trial, compared with 22.4% (2,126/9,509) of white donors (all first donations up to 7 August). The figures are not adjusted for age, sex or severity of illness. The emerging evidence is that the more seriously ill people become, the more antibodies they produce. A Public Health England report suggested people from Asian communities who have COVID-19 have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill.

Media contacts

For additional information please contact: