Public Health

23.06.20

NHSBT calls for more male coronavirus plasma donors

Following new analysis which found men produce higher levels of Covid-19 plasma antibodies than women, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has launched a new campaign for men who have recovered from coronavirus to donate plasma for the national treatment trial.

According to the new figures, 43% of male plasma donors had high enough antibodies for their donation to be used in the trial. This compares to 29% of women.

The new analysis was carried out by NHSBT’s statistics team and was reported into the plasma programme last week.

NHSBT is collecting convalescent plasma – which emerged as an antiviral treatment during the 2002 SARS outbreak and showed signs of improving patient health – for a major coronavirus treatment trial. Should the clinical trial be successful, the treatment will be rolled out for widespread use in hospitals.

READ MORE: Convalescent plasma transfusions take place for Covid-19 patients

READ MORE: Clinical trial approved for plasma treatment to assist Covid-19 patients

Professor David Roberts, Associate Director for Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’d still like to hear from anybody who had coronavirus or the symptoms. More plasma donors are needed.

“But we’d especially want to hear from men. We test every plasma donation and men have higher antibody levels, which means we’re more likely to be able to use their plasma to save lives.”

“Initially your immune system will try and fight off a virus with white blood cells. If you become more ill, your immune system needs to produce more antibodies that neutralise or kill the virus.

“Our studies and many others around the world show men with COVID-19 are more likely to become seriously ill than women. This makes them better plasma donors once they have recovered.”

Rachel Johnson, NHSBT Statistics Lead, added: “It is important to identify donors most likely to have high antibody titres that we can be as effective as possible in plasma collection to treat patients.

“The difference between men and women was statistically significant, so we can be pretty confident, even in this relatively small study, that men are more likely to donate the potentially life-saving plasma we need for coronavirus patients.”

Convalescent plasma is being collected at NHSBT’s 23 donor centres around the country, with donation taking around 45 minutes. Typically, a person’s body will replace the donated plasma in 24-48 hours and people are able to carry on with their normal day after donating. A person’s body replaces the antibodies and people can donate plasma as often as every two weeks.

For anyone who has had coronavirus or the symptoms who is wanting to offer to donate at a donor centre can contact NHSBT by either calling 0300 123 23 23 or complete the online form found here.

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