Portsmouth area patients who have recovered from Covid-19 donate plasma as part of trial to help fight disease

PATIENTS who have recovered from Covid-19 have donated their plasma as part of a national trial to help fight the virus.

By Millie Salkeld
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 7:30 pm

Gemma Lewis from Portsmouth and Nathan Clifford from Whiteley were among the first to donate their plasma at a donor centre in Southampton as part of a clinical trial being led by NHS Blood and Transplant.

Recovered patients’ plasma may contain antibodies that their immune systems have produced in fighting the virus and the trial will investigate if that plasma can be transfused to patients to help them recover quicker.

Nathan, who works for Southern Health NHS Trust, was hospitalised in March with the virus and spent five days on a ward at Southampton General Hospital wearing an oxygen mask.

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Nathan Clifford with his plasma donation.

The 30-year-old, who said the virus made breathing ‘feel like drowning’, is now recovering at home and was asked to donate his plasma for the trial.

He said: ‘I am chuffed that I could potentially help someone else and that I can play a small part in fighting the virus.

‘Having it done was uncomfortable as it was about 45 minutes of a needle in your arm and taking the blood out and it being filtered out and then the plasma would appear in a drip bag above you but the staff were amazing and helpful.’

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Gemma Lewis donating her plasma.

Cabin crew member Gemma also had the virus last month but managed to stay at home.

The 27-year-old said: ‘I felt really wiped out and it took me a few days to get over. I went and had a test and it was confirmed as Covid-19.

‘I was asked to do the trial, and although I don’t really like needles, it was more important to help others and I am glad I could.’

Professor Dave Roberts, associate medical director at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: ‘In previous flu and coronavirus epidemics, some reports suggested antibodies from donors who had recovered from the disease could be used to treat acutely ill patients.

‘We are investigating whether this plasma can improve survival and reduce ventilation and intensive care unit stay. This is an exciting development as there is no proven treatment for COVID-19.’

Anyone with a confirmed positive test can donate. Visit nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial/

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