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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

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Saving lives: Camp Pendleton personnel donate blood

By Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | August 10, 2020


The Armed Services Blood Program hosted a volunteer blood drive and coronavirus antibody test at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Marine Detachment on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 10.

“Today is a very special blood drive,” said Cesar Fontanilla, a blood donor recruiter with the ASBP. “This blood drive could help collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.”

Once screened, each donor gave one pint of blood, which could save up to three lives.

The ASBP takes the blood and tests it before accepting the donation for use. As part of the process, all donations are now being tested for COVID-19 antibodies. The antibodies would be present in the blood if the donors have been exposed to COVID-19 and have since recovered. The ASBP test for the COVID-19 antibodies along with other illnesses that they typically test for, like gonorrhea and HIV.

After the blood is processed and has been screened for any disqualifying illnesses and COVID-19 antibodies, the ASBP will notify the donor with their results. If the antibodies are present, the ASBP will ask the donors to optionally donate their blood plasma.

“We aren't testing to see if you have COVID-19, rather we’re testing to see if you had it,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jayden Ryan, petty officer in charge of the Military Blood Program, Naval Medical Readiness and Training Command San Diego. “Later we can use the antibodies from the donors that had COVID-19 to treat someone who may have a worse case.”

The ASBP donation center only accepts donations for military members and their dependents. To schedule a center to come to your unit contact your local blood donor recruiter by visiting Militarydonor.com.