We are collecting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to help with national clinical trials. – NHS

As part of the national research effort against coronavirus, we are leading a programme to collect convalescent blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.

There is some evidence globally that COVID-19 patients may benefit from being given convalescent plasma. However, the safety and effectiveness of convalescent plasma transfusions needs to be confirmed by robust clinical trials.

We are recruiting people who have recovered from a confirmed case of coronavirus or had symptoms to donate plasma (convalescent plasma) at our main 23 blood centres.

This plasma is planned for use in a number of national COVID-19 clinical trials, and if successful, widespread use as a treatment in hospitals.

We are rapidly building our capability to collect plasma so that we can quickly move into supplying hospitals at scale, should the trial demonstrate patient benefit

Dr Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Blood and Transplant

What is convalescent plasma?

Plasma is a clear liquid found in your blood that is used for transfusions. It makes up about half of your blood volume and carries red and white blood cells and platelets around the body.

After a virus, your plasma contains antibodies used to help fight infection.

Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of someone who has recovered from a virus, in this case COVID-19.

Why is convalescent plasma important?

Recovered patients’ plasma may contain antibodies that their immune systems have produced in fighting the virus. This plasma can be transfused to patients whose immune systems are struggling to develop their own antibodies.

It is hoped that plasma taken no sooner than 28 days after recovery from COVID-19 will contain a high level of this neutralising antibody.

This convalescent plasma could be given to COVID-19 patients to improve their speed of recovery and chances of survival.

COVID-19 clinical trials

A clinical trial has been given approval to determine if plasma donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can help those battling the illness.

Plasma collection has begun through the convalescent plasma programme, and trial transfusions will follow. The transfusions are being done through the REMAP-CAP trial and further trial options are being explored.

As the trial continues, we are rapidly building up capacity to collect plasma so that it can deliver at a large scale, if transfusions are shown to help patients.

Plasma donors

We are working with NHS partners to identify potential plasma donors who have a confirmed positive test result and we will be making direct contact with people.

If you have tested positive for coronavirus or had clear symptoms you can also register your interest in becoming a plasma donor. Find out who can donate plasma

The work is at an early stage and we will be prioritising donors who are best able to help (such as existing blood donors), so there may be a delay before you hear back from us.

It is important that donors have recovered and their body has had time to develop a good antibody response. For these reasons, we are currently collecting plasma no sooner than 28 days after recovery.

If you have had, and recovered from, coronavirus, you will also need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be between 17 and 66 years old
  • weigh more than 50kg
  • not be pregnant, or had a baby, miscarriage or termination within six months
  • not have an existing or previous heart condition
  • not have had a transfusion since 1st January 1980
  • live close enough to one of our 23 main blood donor centres

Could you donate plasma to help treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients? – NHS Clinical trial

We need people who’ve recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19) to donate blood plasma, as part of a clinical trial to help with the national effort against the virus.

The trial will tell us how effective convalescent plasma (plasma from people who’ve had coronavirus) is for treating coronavirus patients.

How you can help

If you have had a positive test result for COVID-19, or have had symptoms of COVID-19, you can help us by registering to donate plasma.

Not everyone will be able to donate. You need to meet some eligibility criteria:

  • be between 17 and 66 years old
  • weigh more than 50kg
  • not be pregnant, or had a baby, miscarriage or termination within six months
  • not have an existing or previous heart condition
  • not have had a transfusion since 1st January 1980
  • live close enough to donate at one of our 23 main donor centres.

We will be in contact over the coming weeks around any next steps. Acceptance to donate will depend on the form and follow-up contacts before donation.

What is convalescent plasma?

Blood plasma is a yellowish liquid that makes up about half your blood volume. After a virus, your plasma contains antibodies that are used to help fight infection.

Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of someone who has recovered from a virus, in this case COVID-19.

Who can donate convalescent plasma?

Convalescent plasma can only be donated by someone who has had the virus. It is also important that donors have fully recovered from COVID-19, and that their body has had time to develop a good antibody response.

We are currently collecting plasma no sooner than 28 days after recovery and can only accept donations from people who are able to visit one of our main donor centres (see below).

Donating plasma

Any donations will take place at one of the following donor centres.

Plasma donation is not the same as blood donation. The process takes around 45 minutes because it separates plasma from the blood as you donate, in a process called apheresis.

We will discuss the details of your donation before you take part.

Our donor centres

  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Gloucester
  • Lancaster
  • Leeds City Centre
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • London Edgware
  • London Tooting
  • London West End
  • Luton
  • Manchester Plymouth Grove
  • Manchester City Centre
  • Newcastle
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Plymouth
  • Poole
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton
  • Stoke

Want to know more about plasma donation?

Read about who can donate and what happens at a donation.