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Covid-19 convalescent plasma donor centre opens at Westfield Stratford City amid urgent call to recovered patients

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 July 2020

A recovered Covid-19 patient prepares to donate plasma. Picture: NHSBT

A recovered Covid-19 patient prepares to donate plasma. Picture: NHSBT

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A new Covid-19 convalescent plasma donor centre has opened at Westfield Stratford City.

The assessment area in the Westfield Stratford City plasma donor centre. Picture: NHSBTThe assessment area in the Westfield Stratford City plasma donor centre. Picture: NHSBT

It’s the third “pop-up” donor centre opened in London in recent weeks – adding to three permanent sites – as NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) massively expands collection.

Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of people who have recovered from Covid-19, which can be transfused into those struggling to develop their own immune response.

The antibodies can attach themselves to the virus and stop it invading cells.

The new site at Stratford will enable NHSBT to collect an extra 500 plasma donations over the next two weeks.

The UK's first Covid-19 convalescent plasma recipient Ann Kitchen cuts the ribbon at the new donor centre at Westfield Stratford City. Picture: NHSBTThe UK's first Covid-19 convalescent plasma recipient Ann Kitchen cuts the ribbon at the new donor centre at Westfield Stratford City. Picture: NHSBT

It will be open by appointment only for those that have recovered from Covid-19.

The first person in UK to receive Covid-19 convalescent plasma, Lambeth woman Ann Kitchen, cut the ribbon to open the Stratford centre.

While receiving care in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in April, she was approached to participate in the convalescent plasma trial.

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“Within a couple of days of having that plasma, I started to feel a lot better,” Anne said.

“Someone has to start doing it, and if it’s going to help other people, I just felt it was right.

“I’m just pleased that there are people out there who are willing to give people a chance.”

Since then, around 350 more people have joined the trials and around half received the plasma.

NHSBT is urgently trying to collect plasma countrywide, but London is the priority area because of its large population and high number of early infections and recovered patients.

NHSBT associate medical director for blood donation, Prof David Roberts, said: “We know many people who can donate will have been through a difficult experience and we are very grateful for their help.

“Convalescent plasma donation is safe and easy. If you get the call, please donate.”

The plasma with the most antibodies tends to come from people who were more ill.

For this reason, there is a particular need for donors who are male, or who are aged over 35, or who were hospitalised, as their plasma is most likely to save lives.

If you live near a donor centre and have recovered from Covid-19, call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk to offer to donate.


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