The Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute is urging people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate potentially life-saving blood plasma to an NHS clinical trial.
Chris McDonald took the decision to self-isolate in March after he became very ill. Although undiagnosed at the time, later tests confirmed he had contracted Coronavirus.
While in recovery, he registered for the convalescent plasma trial – which involves collecting plasma for transfusion to COVID-19 patients to assess its effectiveness as a treatment.
Chris, who heads the Teesside based not-for-profit research and innovation centre, said: “I was motivated to proceed with the trial after my uncle, who was in a vulnerable group, had a fall and sadly passed away after contracting COVID while in hospital.
“My personal experience in both recovering from COVID-19 and tragically losing my uncle to the disease, has driven me to contribute in this way. By donating blood plasma, I hope that other families may be spared suffering the loss of a close family member.
“I am a bit anxious with needles, so I was concerned initially, but actually it is similar to giving blood. I just relaxed and read a book for 40 minutes, whilst having a drink and biscuits.
“We all want to support the NHS in overcoming Coronavirus, and a really simple way to help is for anyone who has had COVID-19, and is fully recovered, to sign up for this trial.
So far, almost 17,000 donations have been made, but the NHS is aiming to reach 85,000 donations to complete the trials and have enough plasma stored for patients who may require it.
Men are particularly asked to come forward to donate their blood plasma, a process that takes around 45 minutes.
Chris added: “I would like to thank the Hartlepool Hospice for making my uncle’s last few days comfortable and bearable for all the family. They showed sincere compassion and understanding.”
For further details of the convalescent plasma clinical trial and the donation centres throughout England visit https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial/.