A SEfton nurse has donated plasma as part of a national clinical trial following her recovery from coronavirus.
Laura Mercer, from Southport, who is Head of Quality Standards at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, has donated some of her blood plasma in the hope that anti-bodies produced while she was ill will help in the treatment of others.
NHS Blood and Transplant is contacting people who have recovered from positive test results from the virus and asking them to donate at its 23 blood donor centres, including Liverpool.
The trial will show how effective convalescent plasma is for treating new patients. Laura donated her plasma at Liverpool Donor Centre in Dale Street and wants to reassure anyone else that is contacted that it is safe and easy.
She said: “It was quite a simple process really. Blood is taken from your arm, run through a machine, the plasma is separate out, and then returned to your body. The antibody-rich plasma could have a positive effect on treating patients, particularly those with very low-immunity themselves.
“It only took around 45 minutes and I was told that my body would have replaced the plasma within around 24 hours. I was ill over a month ago and am now fully recovered and working part-time back in Southport Hospital.
“I hear on a daily basis the devastating effect this virus is having on families and just want to do anything I can to help where possible. If you get the call, please donate.”
Not everyone will be able to donate. You must: be between 17 and 66 years old; weigh more than 50kg; not be pregnant, or had a baby, miscarriage or termination within six months; not have an existing or previous heart condition; not have had a transfusion since 1st January 1980; live close enough to donate at one of 23 national donor centres
Blood plasma is a yellowish liquid that makes up about half your blood volume. After a virus, your plasma contains antibodies that are used to help fight infection.
Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of someone who has recovered from a virus, in this case the coronavirus.
Convalescent plasma can only be donated by someone who has had the virus. It is also important that donors have fully recovered from COVID-19, and that their body has had time to develop a good antibody response.
NHSBT is currently collecting plasma no sooner than 28 days after recovery and can only accept donations from people who are able to visit one of their main donor centres by appointment.
Plasma donation is not the same as blood donation. The process takes around 45 minutes because it separates plasma from the blood as you donate, in a process called apheresis.
If you have had a positive test result for the coronavirus, you can help by giving your details at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk