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Coronavirus survivor helps other patients

One of the first in the UK with COVID-19, Culina Group employee Andy Brown is now doing all he can to contribute to research and vaccine development

In early March, Andy was one of a few people in the UK to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Following being admitted to hospital, Andy has now fully recovered.

He was asked to originally donate blood for research and vaccine development but has subsequently been asked to donate convalescent plasma for research into antibodies in the hope it can eventually be used to treat new patients.

“A doctor from the NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT) contacted me as a survivor. The doctor explained that people like me who have fully recovered from COVID-19 potentially have antibodies in their blood which can fight the virus. This could help patients currently ill with the virus,” said Andy, who works at Culina Group as head of organisational design.

“Originally they asked me to donate blood at the NHS Blood and Transplant Service in Leicester. It was all very new to them as I was the first COVID-19 patient they had. Doctors then contacted me again just over a week later and asked if I would like to voluntarily donate convalescent plasma. I would be the first patient to do this at the Birmingham NHSBT facility according to the Blood Trust.

“For me it is such a privilege to donate plasma which will be used to support others. I am just thankful that I am able to give something back to the NHS as a thank you for the care and support I received during my own unpleasant experience with what is now a global pandemic. “

The NHS Blood and Transplant Service is waiting on approval for the trial of the therapy, if fully approved, the trials will investigate whether convalescent plasma transfusions could improve a COVID-19 patient's speed of recovery and chances of survival.

Richard Berry, Culina Group HR director, said: “This is a fantastic and positive story at a time when they are much needed. All of us at Culina Group are happy that Andy is well and we are very proud that he is contributing to the valuable research being carried out by the NHS Blood and Transplant Service. Andy is looking to go back in 2 weeks to donate again.

“As a business, we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our key workers are fully protected during this crisis. Culina Group provides logistics services to food and drink manufacturers and we are a crucial part of the supply chain getting products on to the retailers' shelves at this difficult time.”

Pictured: Andy Brown

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