Back to Top Skip to main content

Bliss blood program faces supply shortage; begins testing for coronavirus antibodies

Person giving blood The Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Bliss, Texas, routinely hosts blood drives with their blood donation bus, as well as welcomes donations at the donor center located at 2489 Ricker Road, next to the Fort Bliss Army Community Service. (Photo by Michelle Gordon, Fort Bliss PAO)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

As the United States enters the fourth month of a global pandemic caused by the new coronavirus, it also faces a nationwide blood donation shortage, which includes blood collected for service members deployed overseas.

To encourage donations, as well as assist current COVID-19 patients with recovery, the Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Bliss, Texas, recently started screening all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies.

"With the COVID-19 antibody testing, the patient experience is exactly the same as a traditional blood donation; there is nothing different," said Army Spc. Christi McRae, a laboratory specialist with the 440th Blood Support Detachment at Fort Bliss. "The blood is sent to an offsite testing location to see if there are any antibodies within the plasma. If there are, it indicates the patient came into contact with the COVID-19 virus at some point, and their body has built up antibodies to fight against it."

McRae said the antibodies do not indicate immunity from the virus; it simply means the patient was exposed to it.

She said, "It could mean they had it and recovered, or they just came into contact with [the virus] and their body was able to react and develop those antibodies without actually getting ill."

After donation the patient will not be contacted again if their blood tests negative for coronavirus antibodies. If it tests positive, they will be called and encouraged to donate plasma, because research shows the antibodies help current coronavirus patients recover much faster.

"Your body is super intelligent," McRae said. "Once you have been exposed to something you make those antibodies, so, when and if you come into contact with it again, your body already has an answer and knows how to react. We do not know how long COVID-19 antibodies remain in each individual's system, so it is important to donate blood soon after recovery or suspected exposure."

McRae hopes the antibody testing will encourage more people to donate blood because the Defense Health Agency has been tasked to collect 10,000 units of COVID-19 antibody-containing plasma before Sept. 30.

The Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Bliss routinely hosts blood drives with their blood donation bus, as well as welcomes donations at the donor center located at 2489 Ricker Road, next to Army Community Service.

Army Staff Sgt. Chris Frost with the 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment said he saw the blood donation bus parked at Freedom Crossing in mid-July.  He stopped to donate because he has blood type O negative, which he said is always in high demand.

"A few minutes of my time could mean the lifetime of somebody else because this blood is potentially on its way over to Afghanistan to save somebody's life. So, a little bit of my time to save some of my brothers, I'm okay with it."

"Nearly all of our blood products collected here are sent down range to serve the service members," McRae said. "Even though we are here fighting COVID-19, we still have missions around the globe. We have to keep that in mind and make sure we have the life-saving blood products we need to ensure our men and women come back home safely."

You also may be interested in...

COVID-19 amplifies importance of Trusted Care culture

Article
10/29/2020
Image of soldier holding up a badge that says "Trusted Care."

The goal is to create a team of innovators focused on patient safety.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

JBLM hosts vital blood drive during COVID-19

Article
10/29/2020
Soldier giving blood

To maintain social distancing requirements, all blood drives are by appointment only.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Public Health | Coronavirus

WRNMMC expands innovation and opens new, permanent drive-thru pharmacy

Article
10/23/2020
Military pharmacist, wearing a mask, looking at bags of prescriptions

The new Prescription Drive-Thru Pick-up will operate similarly as the curbside pharmacy pick-up.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Health Literacy Month 2020

Fort Irwin DENTAC strives to reach readiness perfection

Article
10/21/2020
Image of patient getting a dental exam

To accommodate an entire installation, the dental clinic extended its hours.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS | Combat Support

Specialized robots used to disinfect NH TwentyninePalms

Article
10/21/2020
Hospital personnel standing with a cleaning robot

The robotic units are designed to complement manual cleaning.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Updated Guidance for Performing Temperature Checks at Military MTFs and DTFs

Publication
10/21/2020

This guidance is an update to Defense Health Agency Return to Full Operations Concept of Operations, V5.0 (June 12, 2020) as it pertains to temperature checks in MTFs and DTFs. Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), previous guidance directed MTFs to take the temperature of all individuals entering the facility. Effective immediately, temperature checks are not required; however, screening of individuals entering MTFs and DTFs and healthcare personnel on duty in the MTF or DTF is to continue.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Navy pharmacy techs support COVID-19 and MHS GENESIS efforts

Article
10/20/2020
Navy personnel in a pharmacy

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aaron Souders is highlighted for his work as a Navy pharmacy technician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS | Combat Support

Navy tele-health supports Guam civilian hospital during COVID-19

Article
10/19/2020
Woman sitting in front of several computer monitors

[T]his is the first-ever DoD tasking for telemedicine support in response to a request from civil authorities for aid.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

DoD COVID-19 Practice Management Guide Version 6

Technical Document
10/16/2020

This Practice Management Guide does not supersede DoD Policy. It is based upon the best information available at the time of publication. It is designed to provide information and assist decision making. It is not intended to define a standard of care and should not be construed as one. Neither should it be interpreted as prescribing an exclusive course of management. It was developed by experts in this field. Variations in practice will inevitably and appropriately occur when clinicians take into account the needs of individual patients, available resources, and limitations unique to an institution or type of practice. Every healthcare professional making use of this guideline is responsible for evaluating the appropriateness of applying it in the setting of any particular clinical situation. The Practice Management Guide is not intended to represent TRICARE policy. Further, inclusion of recommendations for specific testing and/or therapeutic interventions within this guide does not guarantee coverage of civilian sector care. Additional information on current TRICARE benefits may be found at www.tricare.mil or by contacting your regional TRICARE Managed Care Support Contractor.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Navy unit provided COVID-19 support to Peruvian First Responders

Article
10/16/2020
Fireman getting COVID test in firehouse garage

The province of Callao has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in Peru.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement

DHA Director outlines how MHS standardization bolsters reform

Article
10/15/2020
Two soldiers in masks, talking

How COVID-19 repositioned the best laid plans of the DoD.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Joint Health Information Exchange | MHS GENESIS | MHS Transformation

Annual flu vaccine remains a health priority during COVID-19 era

Article
10/13/2020
Military personnel getting flu shot

Annual vaccine is a covered TRICARE benefit.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Public Health | Coronavirus

Pilot DoD/VA hearing program virtually trains technicians

Article
10/9/2020
Military personnel sitting in front of laptop

HCE virtually trains hearing technicians during COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Hearing Loss

MHS Minute: Heroes Behind the Mask

Video
10/8/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

In the face of a global threat, healthcare heroes across the MHS have donned their mask, and served on the front line of the battle against COVID-19. Tune in to this month's "MHS Minute" to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Article
10/7/2020
Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium.

Adaptation key to providing outstanding care to beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Access to Health Care | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 24

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.