Lifesavers… Millions of blood donors have contributed to a plasma increase.
Health officials have stated that plasma supplies will be boosted by separating the so-called “liquid gold” from blood donors.
Antibodies that combat infection are abundant in the yellow fluid. It’s used to create immunoglobulins, which are critical medicines given to about 17,000 people each year.
Until today, plasma from blood transfusions that had been filtered of red blood cells could not be used to create the treatments.
It meant that the UK had to rely on supplies from other countries, which were difficult to get by during the pandemic.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) will now receive about 250,000 litres of plasma from one million blood donations annually, greatly increasing British supplies, thanks to a rule change.
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“Your blood is largely made up of plasma, and it carries the antibodies that fight infections,” said Gerry Gogarty, NHSBT lead for plasma for pharmaceuticals. These antibodies have the potential to save the lives of persons with compromised immune systems.
My family’s life was saved thanks to immunoglobulin.
“We can boost long-term supplies of immunoglobulin medicine by extracting plasma from blood donations, and each generous blood donation will go even further in helping to save lives.”
Plasma makes up around 55% of blood and transports components such as red blood cells and antibodies throughout the body.
Immunoglobulin drugs are concentrated antibodies that can either strengthen or soothe an immune system that is fighting the patient’s own body.
Following the lifting of a 20-year ban due to the risk of spreading VCJD — the human counterpart of mad cow disease — plasma donation has also recently resumed.
Health officials want to see the UK build up its domestic supply and are appealing to members of the public to donate.
Immunoglobulin saved Kes Earl’s newborn baby Trevor after antibodies in her blood started killing his platelets.
Trevor was born with a condition known as neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, which necessitated resuscitation.
“He was terribly unwell and couldn’t even be handled until he had immunoglobulins and chosen platelets,” Kes, 24, explained.