NHS Blood and Transplant is urging people in Southampton hitting the 28-day COVID recovery mark to register as plasma donors.
People can only donate 28 days after they’ve recovered, so the number of potential donors is now at the highest ever level following the national record number of cases over the New Year.
More than 6,000 people living near the Southampton donor centre have already registered to donate convalescent plasma after having coronavirus.
The antibody-rich plasma of people who’ve had the disease might save the lives of people who struggle to develop their own immune response to the virus.
Professor Dave Roberts, Associate Medical Director for Blood Donation at NHSBT, said: “More people than ever can help – the time to donate is now.
“We especially need donations from people in Southampton who’ve had hospital care. Men who had hospital care are around six times more likely to have the high antibody levels which might save lives.”
NHSBT is collecting plasma for new trials for older people or those with cancer to treat them early in the course of the infection. More than 1,600 donations have been taken at the Southampton donor centre on Coxford Road so far.
Prof Roberts added: “We have completed two trials and analysis is ongoing. We now need to collect plasma for further planned clinical studies. We’re particularly looking at high risk groups such as the elderly and people with cancer.
“Donations are vital to the ongoing lifesaving research, which gives us a better understanding of how we can best treat patients with COVID-19 and help prevent deaths in the future.”
Donations are being taken at NHSBT’s 23 blood donor centres and a further 20 pop-up plasma donor centres. Donation takes about 45 minutes. Your body quickly replaces the donated plasma and donated antibodies. All donations are tested for coronavirus antibodies. Men, black and Asian people, and people aged over 35, are more likely to have the high antibody levels needed for donation.
Nationally, more than 300,000 people have offered to donate and more than 60,000 donations have been taken.
People can register to donate online at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk