During the Christmas holidays, SLE Product Manager Steve Dodd unfortunately contracted Coronavirus. While Steve managed to beat the virus, some have not been so lucky. So, when the NHS contacted Steve about possibly donating his blood plasma to help develop treatment for those most in need, he knew he had to help. This is Steve’s story…
“Over the Christmas holiday period I had the misfortune of contracting Covid-19 and spent a very uncomfortable 2 weeks or so with the virus. Fortunately, and thankfully, I have made a full recovery and was back to normal shortly after symptoms subsided.
Having been an occasional Blood donor, I was invited to donate blood plasma. This was because as, a person who had recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19), I should have lots of antibodies. It seems the Covid-19 plasma is used in the development of treatments for vulnerable people most at risk from coronavirus. There is also emerging evidence suggesting that early use of plasma can be effective when treating those most vulnerable such as the elderly or those with weakened immune systems, who do not respond well to vaccines. This includes more than a million people with blood cancers, organ transplants, chronic diseases and more. The NHS Blood and Transplant website – https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-programme/ – has full details. Antibodies in plasma stop the virus, they don’t treat the damage it has already done, so can prevent loss of life…
Before donating, your blood is checked, a small blood sample is sent off, you book a site, and confirm you have the right body mass, HR, Haemoglobin and “Antibodies”. Last of all you confirm that you have not visited a multitude of foreign locations – not much chance of that in the last year!
So, having passed all the screening, I have now made two donations, all pain free, simple and taking about an hour or so.
What I must say most impressed me was, not only the staff, but the technology used is really smart! You donate around 560 ml of plasma – blood is taken from you over 4-5 cycles, centrifuged, plasma separated and then you are given the blood back minus the plasma. What I also learnt is that this plasma donation only restarted in the UK as a result of Covid-19 – since CJD (mad cow disease), the NHS used imported plasma. Now it looks like we will be using our own again.
So far, I have made two donations about 2 weeks apart, and so far, so good; my plasma will be used in future trials and treatments, providing a supply ready when it’s needed.
Having experienced Covid-19, it feels good to give a little back even if it is only a couple of armfuls. I encourage anyone who can, to do this too!”