A NEW plasma donation centre has opened in Reading and people who have had Covid-19 are being urged to registers as a donor to help with research.

NHS Blood and Transplant has opened the doors of its new plasma donation centre at Kennett Place on King’s Road in Reading.

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Plasma collected at the centre will be used in clinical trials to determine whether the antibody-rich blood plasma found in people who’ve had coronavirus – known as convalescent plasma – could be an effective treatment for Covid-19.

The plasma is transfused into patients who are struggling to develop their own immune response.

The antibodies could slow or stop the virus spreading, which could save lives.

About 50 people are already booked in to donate at the centre.

This plasma centre makes four in the South East, with others already open in Oxford, Southampton and Chichester.

About 250 people have already received transfusions at hospitals in the region as part of the trials.

Donna Blofield, donor centre manager, said: “We would love to see people in Reading offering to donate so we can book them into donation appointments now.

"Donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives.

"Your body quickly replaces the antibodies afterwards.”

READ ALSO: Royal Berkshire Hospital boss provides update on Covid-19 situation.

Anyone over 17 who has had Covid-19 can offer to donate blood plasma.

NHSBT said donating is easy - it takes just 45 minutes and the whole appointment, including time for snacks, lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

NHSBT said it especially needs more male and BAME donors to come forward as their plasma is more likely to contain the higher levels of antibodies required.

People who needed hospital treatment are especially likely to have high antibody levels.

The Reading donor centre is now one of a number centres around the country.

By the end of this year, there will be 42 plasma donation points across England so that 80 per cent of potential donors can reach one within 45 minutes.

With three other centres in the region, more than 1250 people in the South East registered online as willing donors last week.

If you’ve had confirmed coronavirus or the symptoms, you can volunteer today to donate plasma at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk or simply search online for ‘donate plasma’.