PORTSMOUTH, Va. - In the fight against COVID-19, the military is hoping to harness the power of convalescent plasma.
The Department of Defense and Armed Services Blood Program has a goal of collecting 8,000 units of COVID Convalescent Plasma, also known as CCP, by the end of September.
When someone contracts the virus that causes COVID-19, their immune system creates antibodies to fight it. Those antibodies are found in the plasma, which is the liquid part of the blood.
Collecting CCP from those who have recovered from COVID-19 is considered one way to help treat people who are still fighting the virus.
The Navy has already collected approximately 400 units of CCP and hopes to boost that number.
In Hampton Roads, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth is one of the Armed Services Blood Program centers collecting CCP.
So far, NMCP has collected 24 units and is actively seeking donors.
"We take the plasma from a person who has recovered from the virus and transfuse that product to the sick patient. When we transfuse those antibodies to the sick patient, it can help their immune system to begin fighting the virus," explained NMCP's Blood Services department ahead Lieutenant Fae Ramirez in a statement.
With positive COVID-19 cases in Hampton Roads continuing to climb, NMCP says it has been reaching out to people to let them know about the CCP donation program.
"By giving some of your time and making a donation, you’re helping your family and the community. The more people we treat, the less COVID will be out there, and we will have a better chance to get through this," Lieutenant Ramirez said.
"We’re all facing incredibly challenging times, and this program sheds a bit of light and hope for patients that they may be able to fight the virus with less severe side effects," added Commander Pete Carbone, NMCP’s Laboratory department head.
The CCP has already been helping patients with COVID-19.
In April, the first Air Force patient received it while in the intensive care unit at Kessler Air Force Base.
That patient was treated and has fully recovered.
To learn more about eligibility for the military's CCP program, click here.