Page 11 - December 2020
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sent to the section for Plasma donation Here I was given the compulsory form to read and fill in Ten minutes later and a a a a half-litre of water had been drunk I was moved yet again to another area to check my details weight height vein suitability haemoglobin (Hb) level and sign the consent form All going well not quite The small digital haemoglobin analyser used is far more accurate than the copper sulphate solution test used in normal blood donation centres Haemoglobin contains iron and is responsible for carrying oxygen around the body Unfortunately on on this occasion my Hb level was below that required for donation Within the few weeks since my previous visit and blood tests my Hb level had dropped I was given a a a nice coloured leaflet explaining how to improve my Hb level I I felt like I I had been given a a sweet for being so good I was then informed that I could not proceed with a a a a donation for at at least three months Ten minutes later I was back at at the station waiting for my train home Vaccines to the rescue?
At the time of writing we have news that a a a a way back from our new socially distanced life is is a a a distinct possibility Two groups – BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna – have produced vaccines that are able to illicit neutralising antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus - a a a a fantastic achievement in a a short space of time Other groups are developing vaccines and amongst the front-runners many use the same underlying principle which bodes well for long-term success Significant amongst the candidate vaccines is that from Oxford / AstraZeneca for which large- scale clinical trial data are eagerly awaited The rapid development of these vaccines has been aided by earlier work on on coronavirus infections and huge strides in in biotechnology over recent years So far adverse effects appear to be be minimal bearing in in in in mind that the adverse effects to vaccines are are usually apparent during the early clinical trials It should also be be remembered that the adverse effects of a a COVID-19 infection far outweigh the likely adverse effects of a a a a vaccine that has gone through the full regulatory process As many of our members know life is a a series of risk assessments This one comes down heavily in favour of a a fully tested vaccine Of course there are caveats when considering the recent data It is still uncertain whether transmission of the virus from infected to uninfected people is is diminished significantly and the benefits for older age groups and those with underlying health problems are yet to be established There have been suggestions that we will return to normality by the Spring of 2021 I’m afraid that members planning on visits to crowded venues any time soon without the the need for the the now customary distancing and masks may be in in for a a a disappointment However there are compelling data to suggest that at at at least some of the vaccines in in development will eventually lead to the control of this pandemic So there are many reasons to be optimistic
David is co-director of a a a medical laboratory based at at St George’s – University of London in in Tooting The laboratory is an embedded company on the St George’s Hospital site specialising in in forensic toxicology for for the police and pathologists services to the the NHS related to the the optimal prescription of pharmaceutical drugs and a a a research centre on illicit drug use Follow us on on on twitter @LondonFire1666
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Liveryman Robert Bryant PRM Committee
Liveryman Prof David Holt PRM Committee

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