A MAN who was among the first people in St Helens to contract coronavirus is donating his blood plasma in the hopes of finding a cure for the virus.

Stevan Hamilton, from Haydock, was struck down by COVID-19 in March.

Steve is among the thousands to have recovered and now the 33-year-old dad-to-be has donated his healthy plasma in the hope that a cure can be found.

More than 150 people have now died in hospitals in St Helens and Whiston after contracting coronavirus. There have been more than 600 confirmed cases locally. 

This is part of a new trial by NHS Blood and Transplant, on behalf of the Government, to collect convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to support a national clinical trial.

St Helens Star:

Stevan donated his plasma

The trial will investigate whether plasma transfusions could improve a COVID-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival.

Stevan told the Star: “It was early March and I just felt so bad and couldn’t get out of bed but when I called 111, because at the time not as much was known about it, they said because I hadn’t been to the worst hit places I probably didn’t have it. But I had recently travelled to Ireland and Germany.

“Then when it didn’t get any better I pushed to be tested because my wife Emma was 12 weeks pregnant at the time and on the news they warned pregnant women to be extra vigilant.

“So people in hazmat suits came to my house and tested me on Friday, March 13, and I got a call that Sunday to say that I did have it.

“Even though my symptoms had got a lot better by then and I went on a further 14 days of isolation.

“It’s hard to describe what it is like but you struggle to breathe; I even struggled to do the phone exam with 111, but because I’m young and healthy I managed OK and could stay at home.

St Helens Star:

Stevan and wife Emma

“But I know some people can’t, which I can totally understand especially if you have respiratory issues anyway or are older. "

Stevan, who said he feels lucky to still be here, added: “The health people kept in regular contact with me and on Tuesday this week they asked me if I would be one of the first to donate my plasma. I said yes straight away.

“If me getting over it and donating my healthy plasma can help save people not as fortunate as me then all it cost me was an hour of my life and it is more than worth it.

“The biggest thing for me is I know others have died of this and been perfectly healthy too.

“I’ve never even given blood before, but I know how lucky I am and I want people to take this seriously and if you I can help then I am going to do it.”

Convalescent plasma is plasma from people who have recovered from an infection.

Recovered patients’ plasma may contain antibodies that their immune systems have produced in fighting the virus.

That plasma can be transfused to patients whose immune systems are struggling to develop their own antibodies.

The trials will investigate whether transfusions may improve a patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival.

Plasma can also be collected and frozen ahead of any second wave of COVID-19.

If people have a confirmed positive test result and they are willing to donate, they can also provide details through a form on the NHSBT website here.