A new NHS plasma donation centre has been opened at Ricoh Arena in Coventry. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has issued an urgent call to anyone who has had Covid-19 to register as a donor.
It highlights another example of the an events industry venue stepping in to help the fight against Covid-19
Plasma collected at the centre will be used in clinical trials to determine whether the antibody-rich blood plasma found in people who’ve had coronavirus (known as convalescent plasma) could be an effective treatment for Covid-19.
Once collected, the plasma will be transfused into patients who are struggling to develop their own immune response to the virus. The antibodies may slow or stop the virus spreading, which could save lives.
Around 65 people are already booked in to donate at the Ricoh Arena centre, and more than 10 people from Coventry have already received plasma transfusions. Among those set to donate is Wasps RFC and England player Brad Shields (pictured), who recently recovered from Covid-19.
There are other donor centres located in Stoke, Gloucester and Birmingham, with a pop-up plasma centre scheduled to open in Wolverhampton before the end of the year.
If the trials confirm patient benefit, plasma can be made readily available for general use in the NHS. Those wishing to donate can register online by searching ‘donate plasma’. Anyone aged over 17 who has had Covid-19 can offer to donate blood plasma.
Professor Dave Roberts, NHSBT associate medical director for blood donation, said: “We would love to see people in Coventry and Warwickshire 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.”
NHSBT has put out a call specifically for male and BAME donors, as their plasma is more likely to contain the higher levels of antibodies required.
Paul Michael, commercial director at Ricoh Arena, added: “We are extremely privileged to be able to play a part in the national effort to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control and save lives.
“We have already been assisting with a drive-through coronavirus testing centre for a number of months, and we look forward to extending our support further with the opening of the new plasma donation centre.”
If you’ve had confirmed Covid-19 or the symptoms, you can volunteer to donate plasma here, or search online for ‘donate plasma’.