Going to give blood counts as essential travel in lockdown. Blood donation points are taking coronavirus safety precautions including distancing, reduced numbers of blood donors, and staff wearing PPE.
The NHS is searching for volunteers who have had coronavirus to donate their blood plasma in order to potentially help those currently battling the infection.
Once your body has fought off a virus, your blood plasma — which comprises roughly 50% of your total blood volume — contains antibodies that help fight infection. Trials are being carried out to test if transfusion of plasma from someone who has recovered from COVID-19, to a current patient, might support their recovery.
To donate, you must be aged 18+ and have had either a positive coronavirus test or the relevant symptoms (though you'll need to be certain that you're not still infectious before heading to the donor centre). You may also need to give a blood sample to check your antibody levels before your blood plasma is extracted.
You can donate plasma at many of the NHS' donor centres — including several in London. Just enter your postcode here to find the one that's nearest to you.
But before you do that, a caveat: clinical trials to test the efficacy of plasma transfusions in treating coronavirus are ongoing. For now, your blood plasma will go into storage so that, if trials show benefits, stock can be made available to treat patients as quickly as possible. Still, because your body quickly replaces any lost antibodies and plasma, you've got nothing to lose — and your generosity might end up helping to save a life.
Register your interest and find out more details here.