Super-donor: Great Ormond Street cardiologist has 40 times more Covid-19 antibodies than average

Henry Bodkin
Recovered: Dr Alessandro Giardini, pictured at at home with his wife, Priyanka, and their children - NHSBT/Fleeting Moments Photography
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An NHS paediatrician who almost died from coronavirus has been identified as an antibody super-donor whose blood plasma can significantly boost other patients' chances of survival.

Dr Alessandro Giardini, who spent seven days on a ventilator after contracting the virus, has been found to have antibody levels 40 times higher than the normal convalescent patient.

The 46-year-old father of two is now leading a campaign for other recovered patients to donate their blood plasma.

His extraordinary antibody levels were discovered as part of an NHS trial to analyse the blood of more than 400 Covid-19 patients.

The results have now enabled NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to identify men over 35 who were ill enough to have needed hospital treatment as their prime candidates for donation. Even patients with far lower levels of antibodies could benefit others.

Dr Giardini, a paediatric cardiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, was found to have an antibody level of one in 2,560, meaning his antibodies can be detected in a sample that is one part plasma and 2,559 parts diluent.

"It was a very hard experience, not knowing if you will see your family again – I have two young children," he said. "I was aware of the convalescent plasma programme, so I was expecting the call to come in and donate. I felt I had to give back."

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Professor David Roberts, from NHSBT, said: "People who are more seriously ill produce more antibodies, which can be transfused to potentially help others. The evidence so far is that men and older people are more seriously affected by coronavirus.

"Convalescent plasma donation is safe and easy, and you could save lives. If you get the call, please donate."

NHSBT is encouraging potential donors to access its website and see if they are close enough to travel to one of the agency's 23 donor centres.