14th Aug, 2020

COVID-19 survivor donates plasma in bid to help others

Rob George 11th May, 2020

A COUNTY consultant who fell ill with Coronavirus has marked his full recovery by donating plasma in a bid to find a potential treatment for the virus.

Dr Abhi Lal, a respiratory consultant at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, was one of the first people to donate plasma at Birmingham New Street donor centre.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is leading a major new programme, on behalf of the Government, to collect plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to support a national clinical trial.

The trial will investigate whether plasma transfusions could improve a COVID-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival.

In parallel to the trial, the trust is also building up capacity to collect plasma so it can deliver at a large scale, if transfusions are shown to help patients.

The 43-year-old from Solihull said: “Donating my plasma was a fantastic experience. The staff at Birmingham Donor Centre have been very friendly and I have been very well looked after.

“I had COVID-19 six weeks ago. I had body aches, fever and fatigue, and a positive test result. I wanted to do something to potentially help others and to help develop a treatment.

“I am a chest doctor at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. I look after people at the severe end of it.

“It’s been a pretty nasty illness. It’s made a lot of people very ill and unfortunately some people have not survived. It’s good to be able to try help by donating plasma too.”

Convalescent plasma is rich in antibodies from those who have already tested positive, and then recovered from coronavirus, and can be given to those who are struggling to develop their own immune system’s response.

NHS Blood and Transplant has supplied the first units of convalescent plasma to hospitals and the first transfusions have taken place.

So far, 14 units have been supplied to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The first transfusions have now been carried out though the effectiveness of plasma treatment will not be known until the trial finishes.

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