There is an urgent need for more people in Birmingham and the surrounding areas who have recovered from coronavirus to donate convalescent plasma.
NHS Blood and Transplant has issued the public appeal to help make sure there is enough plasma during any second wave.
The blood plasma from people who have recovered from the virus can potentially save the lives of people who are still ill.
More than 1150 donations of convalescent plasma have been taken at Birmingham donor centre. Around 14 people have received plasma transfusions in the West Midlands.
The welcome decline in new infections means every potential donor is now even more valuable. Antibody levels are at their highest soon after recovery.
Rajeev Verma, 52, a healthcare facilities manager from Wolverhampton, has the highest antibody levels of any Asian donor so far.
Rajeev said: “COVID-19 is very dangerous and it can attack anyone regardless of colour or creed. There are so many symptoms that you must endure and fight against.
“Donating plasma was a pleasant experience – the nurses were very supporting and reassuring. If I can help in the research and save someone’s life, I do so with great pleasure. It is better to give than to receive and I have now donated five times.”
People who have had a positive coronavirus test are being asked to get in touch. Men who have had symptoms but no test are also being asked to get in touch.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “Every new offer to donate is incredibly valuable. We particularly need men to come forwards as they generally have higher antibody levels.
“We urgently need as many people as possible who have recovered to donate. Donations can also be frozen to ensure convalescent plasma is readily available, should there be a rise in infections in the coming weeks.
“Please, help the NHS fight COVID-19 by donating at Birmingham donor centre. You could save lives.”
Donation in Birmingham takes about 45 minutes. Your body usually takes 24-48 hours to replace plasma you’ve donated, and quickly replaces the antibodies.
People can donate plasma as often as every two weeks and repeat donations are encouraged.
Donated plasma contains antibodies against the virus which can be transfused into people who are struggling to develop their own immune response.
Potential donors are being prioritised according to who is likely to have higher antibody levels. Some people will be asked to make a short visit first to give a blood sample, to confirm their antibody levels are high enough for the trial.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s Clinical Trials Unit is collaborating on the trial with the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP platform trials.
If you have recovered from coronavirus or the symptoms, please offer to donate by calling 0300 123 23 23 or completing the webform at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk