Blood donors needed for Covid study as Barking centre set to open

A nurse takes a blood sample from a man

A nurse takes a blood sample from a volunteer as part of the GenOMICC Covid-19 study. - Credit: Genomics England

A pop-up blood donation centre is opening in Barking as part of a study to learn more about Covid and find new treatments.

People who have tested positive but experienced mild or no symptoms and did not need hospital treatment are being urged to donate blood to the genetic study, which aims to discover why Covid affects people in different ways.

Preliminary results of the GenOMICC study are helping identify possible new treatments but, to keep making progress, scientists urgently need to recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds.

They are particularly seeking volunteers from Asian and black communities as well as more men.

NHS England associate chief clinical information officer Dr Harpreet Sood said: “This study has one key objective – to help us understand why Covid has impacted different groups in different ways.

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“A disproportionate number of people who ended up in hospital have Asian and black heritage – that’s why we need people from these communities to join the study as soon as possible to help us discover new ways of beating the virus.”

A Covid-secure temporary blood donor centre is opening at the Ripple Centre in Ripple Road, Barking among other locations on Saturday, April 24, with more sites to pop up across London over the next month.

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Participants who do not want to travel can book a home visit with a nurse.

The study analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to find out why some became extremely ill while others were hardly affected.

Genomics England chief scientist Professor Sir Mark Caulfield said: “The quicker this research can be completed, the faster we can solve the Covid puzzle and protect vulnerable people.

“Genetic research into Covid-19 is now playing an increasingly important role in our fight against the virus, enabling us to identify new forms of the virus and develop treatments.

“The findings from the study will improve the treatment, care and outcome for those most at risk and lower the number of deaths.” 

More than 700,000 people across London have caught Covid during the pandemic, with 19,000 losing their lives.

Visit to register as a volunteer for the study. 

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