By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L. Greenberg
At Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in California, some U.S. Marines who have tested positive for and recovered from COVID-19 are donating plasma in the hopes of helping others.
“The hope is that these Marines who have tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 will have developed antibodies,” said Ellyn Alcantara, a clinical nurse assigned to the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD)’s Blood Donor Center. “These antibodies could lead to developments in a treatment for COVID-19.”
Why are These Marines Donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma?
Convalescent COVID-19 plasma (or CCP) from recovered COVID-19-positive patients contains antibodies and might be able to help others recover from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
That’s why, in late May, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched a campaign to collect 8,000 units of plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
All of the Marines who volunteered to donate their COVID-19 convalescent plasma did so with the hope that their antibodies will help others.
“It makes me feel good to be a part of the solution to this pandemic,” said Marine Corps Pfc. Xavier Flores, a recent donor.
The Process for Donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
Upon arriving at the blood donation center, Marines are given a medical health screening to determine their donor eligibility.
Once they are cleared to donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma, they are given a complete blood count and hematocrit test to ensure the proportion of red blood cells in the body is optimal for donation and would have no adverse effects on the donor.
“[Additionally,] a transfusion transmissible infection test will be performed on all donors as a part of their screening process,” said Navy Lt. Therica Reynolds, the officer in charge of the medical center’s Blood Donor Center. “We’re trying to maximize our plasma collection and do our part for patient care.”
Reynolds said apheresis — the plasma donation process, which is the same for donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma — takes about an hour from the beginning of the screening process to the end of the collection.
“A qualified donor is eligible to donate every 28 days, and one person can potentially donate four doses, or bags, of CCP per visit,” Reynolds said.
-This story originally appeared on defense.gov. It has been edited for USO.org.
More from the USO
Aug 11, 2020
History Explains Why the U.S. Marks VJ Day as September 2, 1945, Instead of August 15, 1945
August 14. August 15. September 2. September 3. In most countries around the world, depending where you, one of these three days is recognized as VJ Day, for Victory over Japan Day, or VP Day, for Victory in Pacific Day.
Aug 10, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About the Military and Sharks for Discovery Shark Week 2020
As the longest-running cable television programming event in history, Shark Week has been terrifying and educating viewers on sharks since 1988. But did you know the U.S. military is also connected to these monsters of the deep?
Aug 10, 2020
Volunteerism in a Time of COVID-19: How This USO Volunteer Used Her Fitness Passion to Give Back
It's been over 15 years since military spouse Shonda Nichols first discovered the USO while passing through SeaTac International Airport. Now, she shows her military support through volunteerism with USO Guam -- even during COVID-19.