The Department of Defense has initiated a drive for plasma from military members and other people who have recovered from COVID-19 so it can be used to develop a treatment, Stars and Stripes reports.
“We may want to ask you to stick your arm out and donate blood,” said Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a virtual town hall that took place last week. “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.”
The military will open 15 facilities, including one in Germany, to collect plasma from military members and others with access to the facility, including their family members and certain civilians, according to a statement from the Army.
Army Col. Audra Taylor, the head of the Armed Services Blood Program, said in the statement that there is currently no approved treatment for COVID-19, but several patients that were treated by the military health system have received treatment using plasma from patients who have recovered from the disease.
“We are calling for all who are healthy, able and eligible to donate today to help us all stand mission-ready and save lives,” she said. “Our goal as a life-saving program is to always provide a safe and ample supply of blood products. The need is now.”
“We are also reaching out to other military medical facilities in areas within driving distance to contact their recovered COVID-19 patients and invite them to consider donating plasma,” said Stacy Sanning, a spokesperson for the program.
All donors must be 17 years or older, weigh no less than 110 pounds, and be in good health.
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