Northampton opens new donor centre for Covid-19 plasma trial
NHS Blood and Transplant has opened the doors of its new plasma donation centre in Northampton and has issued an urgent call to anyone who has had COVID-19 to register as a donor.
Plasma collected at the Grange Park Court centre will be used in clinical trials to determine whether the antibody-rich blood plasma found in people who have had coronavirus – known as convalescent plasma – could be an effective treatment for COVID-19.
Helen Hanwell, donor centre manager, said: “We would love to see people in Northampton 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.”
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 20 people are already booked in to donate at the centre in Roman Way,
This plasma centre in Northampton makes three in the East Midlands, with others already open in Leicester and Nottingham.
Around 275 people have already received transfusions at hospitals in the 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’.
Anyone over 17 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 Northampton 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 two other centres in the region, over 1300 people in the East Midlands 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’.