Dental teams in England who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being urged to become potential donors for the NHS convalescent plasma programme to help the recovery of others.

This is currently being used in clinical trials.

Leading the call is Birmingham dentist and newly elected BDA Chair, Eddie Crouch, who developed COVID-19 during lockdown, has fully recovered and has volunteered for the programme.

Baseline figures from a large-scale study at Birmingham University – covering over 1,500 dental team members across the Midlands – showed 16% of dentists, hygienists, therapists and dental nurses had COVID-19 antibodies prior to the resumption of face-to-face care on 8 June using enhanced PPE and new safety protocols. This compared to between 6-10% for the general population in the region.

Donated plasma is being transfused into people who are still unwell, and the antibodies could save lives, with the number of cases receiving donations quadrupling in the last month.

To sign up just visit the
NHSBT’s website. Donors need to:

  • have had coronavirus (either a positive test or symptoms)
  • be over 17
  • be able to travel to one of the donation centres

The BDA has written to all its members in England encouraging those who meet the criteria to volunteer. The programme is particularly interested in hearing from men, people aged over 35, people from Asian communities, and people who were treated in hospital. These people are more likely to have higher levels of antibodies in their plasma which can help fight infection.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: 'COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future. As a healthcare professional I hope my own misfortune can now help patients in desperate need. Dentists and their teams have gone over and above during the pandemic, manning urgent dental care centres, redeployed to the front line, and working all out to restore services. For those who have tested COVID 19-positive, these plasma donations can now save lives.

'I hope that any colleagues ready and willing to go that extra mile will consider putting themselves forward.'