Published: 13:28, 22 October 2020
| Updated: 15:00, 22 October 2020
The NHS is seeking blood plasma donors as it prepares to open a new donation centre.
Ashford has been chosen as the location of the new base, which will open as one of 14 new plasma donor centres supporting two Covid-19 treatment trials.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has said the new centre will open in the next few weeks, but the final venue is still being agreed and will be announced shortly.
The health organisation also stated there is an "urgent need for people in Ashford who’ve had Covid to register as donors now, so that they can be booked into appointments in advance."
If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk .
The antibody-rich plasma of people who’ve had coronavirus can be transfused into people who are struggling to develop their own immune response - an effort that could slow or stop the virus spreading, which could save lives.
There is promising evidence for the effectiveness of convalescent plasma but, before general use, patient benefit needs to be demonstrated in randomised control trials.
The NHS Blood and Transplant-led trials are the world’s largest randomised clinical trials of convalescent plasma.
Plasma donations made now will allow for plasma to be readily available for general use in the NHS once the effectiveness has been confirmed in the trials.
So far, hospitals in Kent have transfused around 24 people.
"Donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives...”
NHSBT currently collects plasma in 28 areas, with the 14 new centres forming an expansion over autumn and winter.
Ashford was selected because it has a significant number of potential donors.
Professor David Roberts, NHSBT associate medical director for blood donation and also one of the trial’s principal investigators, said: “We have so far seen a fantastic response from the public.
"We would love to see people in Ashford offering to donate so we can book them into donation appointments now. Donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives.”
Donation takes about 45 minutes. The whole visit – including the donation, snacks and checks - takes about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Your body usually replaces the plasma you’ve donated in 24-48 hours. Your body also quickly replaces the donated antibodies.
All donations are tested for Covid antibodies. NHSBT is collaborating with the REMAP-CAP and RECOVERY trials.