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NHS Blood and Transplant have put out an urgent call for men who’ve had coronavirus or the symptoms to volunteer to donate blood plasma.

So far, around 17,000 donations have been taken nationally.

Plasma from those who have recovered from Covid-19 can be transfused into people who are still unwell and struggling to develop their own immune response to help the body recognise and combat the virus. The convalescent plasma contains neutralising antibodies which could stop the virus spreading and saving lives.

Male donors are desired as they will typically donate a unit of plasma with a higher antibody count than female counterparts on their first donation.

This is partly because men generally produce more antibodies, because on average they are more seriously affected by the virus. Men also typically have larger veins and a larger volume of blood in their circulation, meaning they are more likely to meet the donation requirements on the day.

Professor Dave Roberts, Associate Director for Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re not sure why fewer men than women are offering to donate but we need men who have coronavirus symptoms to come forward and offer to donate.

“You don’t need to have had a positive test – if you had the symptoms, we want to hear from you, as all donations are tested.

“Please help the NHS fight Covid-19 by donating. It is safe and easy, and you could save lives.”

NHS Blood and Transplant’s Clinical Trials Unit is collaborating on the convalescent plasma trial with the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP platform trials. Preliminary trial results are expected later this year.

Plasma is being collected and stored at a large scale so that if the trials show patient benefit, there are significant stocks ready for immediate use at hospitals around the country.

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