Donation centre for coronavirus plasma trial opens at Arundel hotel

A new plasma donation centre has opened its doors at a hotel in Arundel – and urgently needs people to register as donors.

The plasma donation centre in Arundel
The plasma donation centre in Arundel

The centre is being run at the Hilton Avisford Park on Yapton Lane by NHS Blood and Transplant.

Plasma collected at the centre will be used in clinical trials to determine whether the antibody-rich blood plasma found in people who have had coronavirus – known as convalescent plasma – could be an effective treatment for COVID-19, a spokesman said.

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The plasma is transfused into patients who are struggling to develop their own immune response.

The antibodies could slow or stop the virus spreading, which could save lives.

Around 35 people are already booked in to donate at the centre in Arundel, which is the fourth to open in the South East and the first in Sussex.

So far, around 275 people have already received transfusions at hospitals in the region as part of the trials.

Donations are urgently needed so that if the trials confirm patient benefit, plasma can be made readily available for general use in the NHS.

Lee Wright, NHSBT area manager, said: “We would love to see people in and around Arundel offering to donate so we can book them into donation appointments now.

“Donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives.

“Your body quickly replaces the antibodies afterwards.”

Anyone over 17 who has had COVID-19 can offer to donate blood plasma donor.

A spokesman said: “Donating is easy - it takes just 45 minutes and the whole appointment, including time for snacks, lasts approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

“NHSBT especially needs more male and BAME donors to come forward as their plasma is more likely to contain the higher levels of antibodies required.

“People who needed hospital treatment are especially likely to have high antibody levels.”

By the end of the year, there will be 42 plasma donation points across England, so that 80 per cent of potential donors can reach one within 45 minutes, the spokesman said.

Anyone who has had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms can volunteer to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk

Or search ‘donate plasma’ online.