Father keen to give back to the NHS through COVID-19 research
A dad of two, from south London, has spoken about why he has donated his convalescent plasma to research into COVID-19.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHS BT) wants to reassure people discharged from hospital during the coronavirus second wave that plasma donation is safe. More donations are needed for the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP COVID-19 clinical trials.
Stephen Craib, 42, who was treated for COVID-19 induced pneumonia at St Helier Hospital, recently became the first person in England to donate his convalescent plasma 15 times. He spent a week becoming increasingly ill before he was taken to hospital by ambulance and put onto a dedicated COVID ward. The 42-year-old said:
“The NHS has done so much for me over the years, this is a way to give back.
“The donation process is lovely really, because of the staff. To me, it’s ‘why wouldn’t I do it’, if I have the antibodies to help someone else.”
Stephen donates his plasma at the Twickenham pop-up centre. More donations will help researchers find out whether or not plasma is an effective treatment for COVID-19.
Donations are taken at NHSBT’s 23 blood donor centres and a further 19 pop-up plasma donor centres. Donation takes about 45 minutes.
Research shows that men who were hospitalised make the very best plasma donors. On first donation or sample, recent tests showed they had high enough antibody levels for the trials 61% of the time, compared to 10% for all donors.
Lise Estcourt, Head of the NHSBT Clinical Trials Unit, said: “The latest analysis shows people who had hospital care make our best donors. They have the highest antibody levels and their antibodies stay higher for longer.
“We can reassure people that donation does not affect how your antibody levels change over time. Your body quickly replaces the donated plasma and antibodies and it does not affect antibody levels in the long term. By donating, you could save lives.”
The plasma arm of the RECOVERY trial is the world’s largest randomised control trial of convalescent plasma and the results could now come before the end of the year.
If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer to donate plasma online.