UK Politics

Have you had coronavirus? You could donate potentially life-saving antibodies


The NHS is urgently appealing for people who have had coronavirus to donate plasma so it can be used as a possible treatment in case of a second wave.

Coronavirus survivors will have produced antibodies against the virus and there is some evidence that if plasma containing antibodies is transfused to patients who have COVID-19, it can help them to recover.

"It could save lives," said Professor Mike Murphy, a consultant haematologist who works for NHS Blood and Transplant.

Image: There is some evidence the antibodies found in survivors' blood plasma can help COVID-19 patients

He said data from studies in the US is promising, and results from UK trials should determine whether or not it does work as a coronavirus treatment by the end of the year.

"As well as collecting plasma for the trials, we're scaling up collection so that if the trials demonstrate effectiveness then we've got plenty of plasma to treat many more patients," he said.


So far, almost 17,000 donations have been made but the NHS is hoping to reach 85,000 donations in order to complete the trials and have enough plasma stored for patients who may need it.

But a decrease in the numbers of people with coronavirus means there are fewer potential donors.

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And although anyone who has had COVID-19 could have enough antibodies to donate, tests have shown particular groups of patients usually have higher levels of antibodies than others.

"People who have been sick in hospital and men tend to have higher levels of antibodies," said Prof Murphy.

"So we're particularly appealing to people who have been treated in hospital for COVID and for men to come forward to donate."

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Darren Buttrick has been donating plasma since April and today marks his seventh donation.

The 49-year-old father-of-three, from Coven in Staffordshire, was given a 50/50 chance of survival when he was put on a ventilator in intensive care after contracting coronavirus in March.

Darren Buttrick is the most prolific donator of COVID-19 blood plasma in the UK
Image: Darren Buttrick is the most prolific donator of coronavirus blood plasma in the UK

His condition deteriorated so rapidly he was given just 15 minutes to call his family before he was sedated and ventilated.

"I can honestly say it was the worst 15 minutes of my life," he sRead More – Source