Research finds COVID plasma donation is fuelled by kindness

February 02, 2021

Researchers have given new insights into why people would choose to donate Covid-19 plasma after recovering from the virus, which will be used to support the recruitment of convalescent plasma donors to help treat current Covid-19 patients and support ongoing trials.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham's School of Psychology, in collaboration with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood and the University of Queensland Australia have been the first in the world to examine the motivations and barriers to convalescent plasma donation in the UK. The findings published in Transfusion Medicine, showed that most people would choose to donate as they want to show their gratitude by giving something back after recovering.

Convalescent plasma is a treatment being trialled for Covid-19 and involves blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients being transfused into patients who are currently in hospital with the virus. This provides 'passive' immunity as the antibodies against Covid-19 are transferred from the recovered patient to the current patient to support their immune system to fight the virus.

Professor Eamonn Ferguson from the University of Nottingham's School of Psychology was one of the lead authors on the study, he said: "The use of convalescent plasma as a treatment relies on the generosity and 'altruism' of those who have recently recovered from the virus to help those currently ill. To enhance the recruitment of convalescent plasma donors - much as blood donors in general - we need to understand what would motivate, or even defer, those who are eligible to be convalescent plasma donors to donate."

The study involved 419 UK residents who indicated they had been infected with Covid-19 and were eligible to donate convalescent plasma. They were asked about their awareness of convalescent plasma, motivations, and barriers to donating.

The researchers identified six key motivations - Altruism from adversity, post-traumatic growth, moral and civic duty to help research, patriotism and control, reluctant altruism, and signalling reluctant altruism. They found the main motivation to donate from these was altruism from adversity - people being grateful to have survived with a sense of pay-it-back and pay-it-forwards reciprocity, and moral and civic duty- the morally right thing to do to help family, friends and support research.

Barriers to donating were also explored - not well enough, logistics, generic donation fears, lack of trust in institutions, fear of re-infection, infection and process risk to self and others and worry that others will know of COVID-19 infection. Of these, generic fears were the biggest barrier with a fear of needles being a particular deterrent.

Professor Ferguson continues: "These results highlight the extreme kindness, generosity, and cooperative spirit of human nature. Even under the adverse condition of a global pandemic, people are willing to help strangers and those who are in need which is borne out of adversity but also a moral sense of what is right. This is a real good news study about the human condition and how we are all there for each other. Indeed, little put people off donating convalescent plasma other than a general fear of needles.

The results also suggest several ways that transfusion services to develop recruitment campaigns to attract more convalescent plasma donors. These could focus on simple gratitude interventions, ideas of pay-it-back reciprocity, and moral imperatives.

We feel these new and novel findings have the potential to help in the fight against COVID-19 by providing evidence about ways to support the recruitment of convalescent plasma donors that are urgently needed to support ongoing research trials and treatment of patients."

Dr. Rachel Thorpe from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood said: "It's incredibly useful for transfusion services to understand that people are willing to donate plasma for research even during a pandemic, and that this willingness could be enhanced through increasing public awareness about convalescent plasma and about what is involved in donating plasma."

University of Nottingham

Related Virus Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers develop virus live stream to study virus infection
Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute and Utrecht University developed an advanced technique that makes it possible to monitor a virus infection live.

Will the COVID-19 virus become endemic?
A new article in the journal Science by Columbia Mailman School researchers Jeffrey Shaman and Marta Galanti explores the potential for the COVID-19 virus to become endemic, a regular feature producing recurring outbreaks in humans.

Smart virus
HSE University researchers have found microRNA molecules that are potentially capable of repressing the replication of human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 - The virus and the vasculature
In severe cases of COVID-19, the infection can lead to obstruction of the blood vessels in the lung, heart and kidneys.

Lab-made virus mimics COVID-19 virus
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have created a virus in the lab that infects cells and interacts with antibodies just like the COVID-19 virus, but lacks the ability to cause severe disease.

Virus prevalence associated with habitat
Levels of virus infection in lobsters seem to be related to habitat and other species, new studies of Caribbean marine protected areas have shown.

Herpes virus decoded
The genome of the herpes simplex virus 1 was decoded using new methods.

A new biosensor for the COVID-19 virus
A team of researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich and Zurich University Hospital has succeeded in developing a novel sensor for detecting the new coronavirus.

How at risk are you of getting a virus on an airplane?
New 'CALM' model on passenger movement developed using Frontera supercomputer.

Virus multiplication in 3D
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies.

Read More: Virus News and Virus Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to