Donating Blood Plasma to help Critically Ill Patients
Clara Health

Donating Blood Plasma to help Critically Ill Patients

If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 and are now fully recovered, you may be able to help by donating blood plasma as a treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

When a person contracts a virus like COVID-19, their immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in the liquid part of blood, called plasma. Plasma that contains these infection-fighting antibodies is called “convalescent plasma.”

When a recovered COVID-19 person donates this antibody-rich convalescent plasma, it can then be transfused to help a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. If you've recovered from COVID-19, you can donate convalescent plasma, which can provide a boost to the immune system of the sick patient helping speed the recovery process, and may save their life.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Serology testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These antibodies are produced when someone has been infected, so a positive result from this test indicates that person was previously infected with the virus.

About convalescent blood plasma donation

The FDA is permitting the use of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infection. It is considered an investigational treatment because clinical studies have started but have not yet been completed.

We know there is evidence that convalescent plasma has helped patients with other illnesses, but doctors and researchers will not know how effective convalescent plasma is in treating COVID-19 patients until more studies are completed.

Who is this study for?

To donate plasma for use in COVID-19 patients, you must have been sick with COVID-19 and completely recovered. You should have been free of symptoms for two weeks.

It is important to keep both blood donors and potential recipients safe and healthy. This involves taking precautions to protect the national blood supply. Prior to all blood donations including convalescent plasma, each donor is asked a series of questions to determine if donating blood right now is possible.

These questions include:

  • Travel history
  • Medications taken
  • Exposure and potential exposures to infections transmitted by the blood
  • Prior sexual contact

What should I expect?

Donating plasma is similar to donating blood.

At your convalescent plasma donation, you can expect to:

  1. Check-in for your appointment
  2. Fill out a health questionnaire (if not filled out in advance)
  3. Undergo a brief examination by a physician to confirm you are physically healthy to donate blood (donation materials/equipment will be prepared while you wait)
  4. Begin donation (sterile needle in arm)
  5. Samples will be collected and tested, light refreshments given to rehydrate, your blood will be typed, tested, processed and during this time you will be observed before leaving.

The entire process will take 1 - 2 hours.

Frequently asked questions

Are there any risks to my health?

People donate plasma every day. It is done at plasma and blood donation centers all around the country 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.

Where can I learn more about convalescent plasma donation?

To learn more about donating, you can visit the following sites:

Additional information

Have questions on convalscent blood plasma donation or need help?

For general questions about convalescent blood plasma donation, please email [email protected] For study specific inquiries, submit the interest form and you'll be connected to the team.