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DOD looking for a few good COVID-positive plasma donors

The Defense Department is asking recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their plasma to help patients fighting the virus and support researchers developing an effective treatment against the disease. 

Plasma with infection-fighting antibodies can be transfused into a sick patient, which may boost the immune system and help with the recovery process, said Army Col. Audra Taylor, chief of the Armed Services Blood Program. Patients fully recovered from COVID-19 are the only ones who qualify to be a convalescent plasma donor, she added.

Several COVID-19 patients in the Military Health System have received convalescent plasma transfusions as part of their treatment, Taylor said. The treatment, which must be carried out under an approved protocol, is used for those hospitalized and severely ill with the disease.

With a goal of 8,000 units of COVID-19 convalescent plasma, DOD is accepting donations at 15 Armed Services Blood Program centers across the continental United States and in Hawaii, Guam and Germany.  The complete list of centers accepting donations is available here.

DOD personnel and their families, as well as non-DOD civilians with access to collection facilities on installations, are welcome to donate.

Patients fully recovered from COVID-19 are the only ones who qualify to be a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor, said Army Col. Audra Taylor, chief of the Armed Services Blood Program.

Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. In addition to standard requirements, those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 must be symptom-free for at least 14 days. Donors must also produce documented laboratory test results proving they tested positive for the virus, Taylor said.

"We may want to ask you to stick your arm out and donate blood," Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a virtual town hall May 28. "What that can then do is help others who are severely ill, and if we can do that, then we'll be on a good path toward getting some really powerful therapeutics."

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