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Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Banner asking recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their plasma

In June 2020, the Department of Defense (DOD) began an effort to collect donated units of plasma from patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to support the development of an effective treatment against the disease. Collected CCP will be made available for investigational treatment of COVID-positive patients in DOD treatment facilities who meet established criteria and in accordance with approved protocols.

If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19, tested positive for antibodies, and have been symptom-free for two weeks, consider donating your plasma at one of the military’s blood donation centers. If eligible, you may donate whole blood every eight weeks or plasma by apheresis more frequently based on blood donor center guidance and donor qualification. Donating plasma can take anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes, and one donor can potentially give up to four units from one visit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:

What is COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma?

A:

COVID-19 Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of the 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 causes COVID-19. It has not yet been clinically proven if COVID-19 convalescent plasma is an effective treatment against COVID-19; however, there is anecdotal evidence that CCP may be effective for some patients.

Q2:

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 must 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 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 for additional information, and if they qualify, set up an appointment.
In addition, patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can expect a call from a military hospital or from the Armed Services Blood Program alerting them of the opportunity to donate their plasma and discuss the requirements. 

Q3:

Where can I donate?

A:

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

ASBP Blood Donor Centers Collecting CCP via Apheresis and Whole Blood Donations

ASBP COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Collection Sites 

California: NMC San Diego/Camp Pendleton Blood Donor Center 
(619) 532-6653; 34800 Bob Wilson Dr., San Diego, CA 92134-5000

Georgia: Fort Benning - Sullivan Memorial Blood Center
(706) 544-9427; 9231 2nd Infantry Division Road, Building 3380, Fort Benning, GA 31905

Georgia: Fort Gordon - Kendrick Memorial Blood Center
(706) 787-1014: Building BDC-001, 48 Central Hospital Court, Fort Gordon, GA 30905

Hawaii: Tripler - TAMC Blood Donor Center
(808) 433-6699: 1 Jarrett White Road, Room 2A207, Tripler AMC, HI 96859-5000

Illinois: Blood Donor Processing Division, Great Lakes 
Main: (224) 610-2120/2121/2122 | Donor Recruiter: (224)610-2116; 3001 Green Bay Road, Building 133CA, North Chicago, IL 60064

Maryland: Walter Reed National Medical Center - Armed Services Blood Bank Center - Bethesda
(301) 295-2104: 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Building 9/Arrowhead Zone, Bethesda, MD 20889

Mississippi: Keesler Air Force Base - Keesler Blood Donor Center
(228) 376-6101; 111 G Street, Building 5901, Keesler AFB, MS 39534

Missouri: Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center 
(573) 596-5385, Building 822, 6656 Colorado Avenue, Fort Leonard Wood, MO 65473

North Carolina: NMC Camp Lejeune Blood Donor Center 
(910) 450-3456; 100 Brewster Boulevard, Camp Lejeune, NC 28310

North Carolina: Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center 
(910) 396-4222; Bldg 804156 Souter Place, Fort Bragg, NC 28310

Ohio: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Blood Donor Center 
Main: (937) 257-0580 | Donor Recruiter: (937) 656 - 1564, 88 MDG 
4881 Sugar Maple Drive | Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433-5300

Texas: Fort Bliss Blood Donor Center
(915) 742-5365; 2489 Ricker Road, Fort Bliss, Texas 79916

Texas: Fort Hood - Robertson Blood Center 
(254) 287-5938; Building 2250, 761st Tank Battalion Avenue, Fort Hood, Texas 76544

Texas: Fort Sam Houston - Akeroyd Blood Center
(210) 295-4655; Building 1240, Harney Road, For Sam Houston, TX 78234

Texas: Lackland Air Force Base - Armed Services Blood Bank Center - San Antonio
(210) 292-8145; 59th Medical Wing, 2200 Bergquist Drive, Suite 1, Lackland AFB, TX 78236-5300

Virginia: NMC Portsmouth Blood Donor Center
(757) 953-1686; 629 John Pal Jones Circle, Portsmouth, VA 23708-2111

Washington: Joint Base Lewis/McChord - Armed Services Blood Bank center - Pacific Northwest
(253) 968-1903; 9904 East Johnson Street, Tacoma, AS 98431

Germany: Landstuhl - Armed Services Blood Bank Center - Europe 
Comm-06371-9464-5885; DSN-314-590-5885; Building 3738, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center 

Okinawa, Japan: U.S. PACOM Armed Services Blood Bank Center
011-81-98-971-9939 | DSN: 315-646-9939

Guam - NH Guam Blood Donor Center 
(671) 344-9748; U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Blood Donor Center PSC
455 Box 208, AP 96540

 

 

 

Q4:

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.

Q5:

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.

Q6:

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.

Q7:

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.

Q8:

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.

Q9:

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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