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COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. Whether you stayed home to flatten the curve or treated those with the virus, thanks for making a difference. Now there’s one more way to help. If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, tested positive for antibodies, AND you’ve been symptom-free for two weeks, consider donating your plasma at one of the military’s blood donation centers.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infections. To support this effort, and to increase operational readiness of our combat forces, DoD will collect, through donation or procurement, over 8,000 COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) units by September 30, 2020. Collected CCP will be available for treatment of COVID-positive patients in DoD treatment facilities who meet established criteria and in accordance with approved protocols. 

This is an all-hands effort and we need the help of all within the MHS community.  On this page, you’ll find information on how you can support this effort.

Main Coronavirus Page

Armed Services Blood Program

Find a Blood Donor Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma?

A. COVID-19 Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood collected from patients who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Antibodies present in convalescent plasma are proteins that help patients fight an active infection; in this case, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  It has not yet been clinically proven if COVID-19 convalescent plasma will be an effective treatment against COVID-19; however, there is anecdotal evidence that CCP may be effective for some patients.

Q. Who is eligible to donate convalescent plasma?

A. All donors must:

  • be at least 17 years old;
  • weigh at least 110 lbs; and
  • be in good health,
  • For women who have ever been pregnant, additional testing may be required if human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies were developed since last pregnancy.
  • Must have a prior diagnosis of coronavirus AND meet specific laboratory criteria.
  • Evidence of COVID-19 must be documented by a laboratory test either by:
  • A diagnostic test (e.g., nasopharyngeal swab) at the time of illness; or
  • A positive serological test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies after recovery, if prior diagnostic testing was not performed at the time COVID-19 was suspected.
  • Complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days before the donation. A negative result for COVID-19 by a diagnostic test is not necessary to qualify the donor.

If a donor believes they meet these requirements, they MUST first contact the local blood donor center before coming in for additional information, and if they qualify, set up an appointment.

Q: Where can I donate?

A: The following are the Armed Services Blood Donor Centers that are collecting CCP:

  • Fort Benning: Sullivan Memorial Blood Center
  • Fort Bliss Blood Donor Center
  • Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center
  • Fort Gordon: Kendrick Memorial Blood Center
  • Fort Hood: Robertson Blood Center
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord: Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Pacific Northwest
  • Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston: Akeroyd Blood Donor Center
  • Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Blood Donor Center
  • Keesler Air Force Base Blood Donor Center
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center: Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Europe
  • Naval Hospital Guam Blood Donor Center
  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Blood Donor Center
  • Naval Medical Center San Diego Blood Donor Center
  • Tripler Army Medical Center Blood Donor Center
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center: Blood Services

Q. Has the ASBP provided guidance or policy on convalescent blood plasma donations and how/where that plasma will be used?

A. The collection of CP is a voluntary allogeneic collection for which all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) regulations and guidance apply, including testing, processing, storage and traceability. The ASBP is implementing COVID-19 convalescent plasma regulatory guidance, based on FDA and DOD requirements. This is will include how and where plasma will be used, requested, etc.

Q. Are recovered COVID-19 patients encouraged to donate?

A. Yes, recovered patients are encouraged to donate if they meet the additional requirements for COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) donation and basic plasma donation eligibility.

Q.  Why are recovered COVID-19 patients encouraged to donate?

A. When a person contracts SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, their immune systems create antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in the plasma—the liquid part of blood. Plasma with infection-fighting antibodies is called convalescent plasma. Through the blood donation process, this plasma is collected from a donor who has recovered from COVID-19 and may be transfused into a sick patient who is still fighting the virus, if they qualify for this type of treatment. The procedure may boost the immune system of the patient and help with the recovery process.

Q. Will CCP donations through ASBP blood donor centers go to treating DoD patients or be pooled with the national blood supply?

A. The priority for ASBP donations will be patients receiving treatment in military treatment facilities and operating units. However, the ASBP will continue to work closely with industry partners to support patients receiving care at the VA and in civilian hospitals.

Q. How will CCP be used to support a patient?

A. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infections.  Administration of CCP must take place under one of the FDA-approved pathways for this Investigational New Drug (IND).  Once a DoD patient has been enrolled into an FDA-approved treatment protocol, the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) will assist with obtaining CCP from an FDA-registered source.  Collected CCP will be available for treatment of COVID-positive patients in DoD treatment facilities who meet established criteria and in accordance with approved protocols.

Q. What is the efficacy of this program? Is it proven?

A. Right now, we only have anecdotal evidence that administering convalescent plasma to those suffering from COVID-19 is an effective therapeutic. The idea is that it will help patients build up sufficient antibodies to combat the virus and the disease, while assisting the patient to recover more quickly.

  • Current clinical studies are evaluating the treatment of severe infection (seriously ill and those in ICU) with high titer (antibodies) plasma.
  • There are still several unknowns at this time:
  • Overall effectiveness of plasma
  • If effective, the timing of administering the plasma to be effective
  • If AB titer is required to provide treatment
  • Is there any benefit for use in patients with mild or moderate infections
  • Is there any benefit to using CCP as a pre-treatment (after exposure or potential exposure) to prevent infection or reduce duration/severity of infection

Researchers are taking all of this into consideration and are working to develop appropriate products to serve as potential therapeutics.

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