Coronavirus (COVID-19) Plasma Donation and Registry

UPDATE: The Jefferson Blood Donor Center’s inventory of convalescent plasma is presently meeting our patients’ needs. We are indefinitely postponing plasma donation appointments.

We still encourage you to sign up to be part of our registry for future research as other COVID-19 related projects are still actively in progress, and as a potential plasma donor. If the need arises in the future to restart donation, we will contact you.

In addition, if you are interested in donating blood now, we would welcome you as a whole blood donor. These donations are what is needed at this time so we can meet the needs of all our patients during the pandemic. To schedule a regular blood donation appointment, call the Jefferson Blood Donor Center at 215-955-7791.

Donated plasma will be used as a trial treatment for patients across the Jefferson Health system who are currently hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 infection. Other research studies may involve collecting your blood for other testing and treatments as well as non-blood related participation.

On this website, you can register for convalescent plasma donation, as well as to be a potential participant in other research studies focused on better understanding and treating COVID-19.  

We will use the information you provide here to screen you for eligibility for participation in studies that are being conducted by Jefferson as well as by other sites locally and nationally. We take your privacy very seriously. All information you provide here is stored in a secure HIPAA-compliant database. We will not share your information without your consent. Upon request, Jefferson can remove your information from this registry at any time.

Get Screened >

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about plasma donation or other research studies. Please email your questions to covidplasma@jefferson.edu, and we will respond to your email as soon as possible. Thank you for your willingness to help with these efforts to fight coronavirus!

Frequently Asked Questions About Convalescent Plasma Donations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently expanded inclusion criteria for plasma donation to include EITHER:

1) a documented positive COVID-19 test at the time of symptoms, OR

2) positive serological test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 after recovery if diagnostic testing was not performed at the time COVID-19 was suspected.

So technically – yes, you are able to donate plasma if you have documentation of a positive serological test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. However, we are not currently able to perform antibody testing at Jefferson as this testing is still a work in progress. If you are able to get antibody testing done elsewhere and can provide evidence of positive serologic testing, then you can potentially donate your convalescent plasma. We will need to see documentation of this result. In addition, please note that you still have to meet all other eligibility criteria for blood donation.

Stay tuned to this website for announcements about your ability to get serologic SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing here at Jefferson. This is a top priority for us and we are actively working to develop the capability to do this antibody testing.

Current FDA guidance does allow for serologic testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to qualify people to be plasma donors. However, at this time we do NOT have COVID-19 antibody testing at Jefferson. This is a top priority for Jefferson, and we are actively working to develop the capability to do this antibody testing. We will update this page and make other public announcements when we do have testing available.

All donors must be at least 14 days free of all COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are between 14-28 days symptom free must have a repeat negative COVID-19 test. Those who are more than 28 days symptom free can donate without having a repeat COVID-19 test.

No. Everyone who donates plasma must meet all the normal blood donation criteria as established by the FDA. There is a screening process prior to the donation to make sure each potential donor is a good candidate based upon their medical history and standard donation guidelines.

It is not currently clear how to interpret a continued positive COVID-19 test for individuals who are feeling better.  We recommend that you continue to monitor yourself for persistent or worsening symptoms and follow up as needed with your regular doctor to discuss whether any further treatment or testing is needed.  According to FDA guidance, once you have been free of COVID-19-related symptoms for at least 28 days, you are eligible to donate your plasma according without further COVID-19 testing.

Plasma is the clear liquid portion of blood that remains after blood cells, platelets, and other cellular components are removed. It contains water, salts, antibodies, and other proteins. It is the antibodies to the virus that we think will help those who are sick with COVID-19. Plasma is collected to produce therapies to treat people with many types of disorders, including immunodeficiency, hemophilia, and trauma such as burns or shock.

From screening to donation, the process takes about 90 minutes. The actual plasmapheresis takes about 45 minutes.

Plasmapheresis is the preferred way to donate plasma as it allows us to collect 2 units of plasma from one donation. It also allows you to be eligible to donate again in 28 days. However, plasma can also be collected through a whole blood donation. This process allows us to collect only 1 unit of plasma from one donation. You are eligible for a repeat donation 56 days after a whole blood donation.

Yes! If you donate plasma via plasmapheresis, you can donate again after 28 days. If you donate plasma via whole blood donation, you can donate again after 56 days.

People donate plasma every day. It is done at plasma and blood donation centers nationwide by trained medical teams in sterile environments. Donating plasma is a safe process. Most healthy adults can donate blood and plasma with no side effects. Some people may have minor side effects like dehydration, fatigue or dizziness. Donors are screened prior to donating to make sure they are good candidates.

Unfortunately, this is not nearly as straightforward as it seems, and thus is not possible at this time. Donor plasma must be screened by the standard procedures for blood products, such as blood type, which may not match the intended recipient. Furthermore, at this time there is a strong demand for convalescent plasma in the nation’s hospitals. The medical teams and blood banks have the difficult responsibility of deciding which patient gets the next available convalescent plasma product based on specific criteria related to the course of their illness and likelihood that they will respond.