FAQ: Get answers to questions about COVID-19 and Blood Donation Learn More

Convalescent Plasma - Donor FAQ

Is SARS Cov2 the same as COVID-19?

Yes, SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19 (the disease).

How long does CP donation take?

The actual time on the apheresis device is 45-50 minutes, but the total visit time including medical screening is about 75 minutes.

What is the process for CP donation?

Potential CP donors must complete the CP donor request form at bbd.org/cpdonor. A daytime phone number and email must be provided. It may take BBD 3-5 days to contact the donor, given the volume of submissions and time needed for form review and approval.

What documentation of positive diagnostic testing do CP donors need to submit?   

All potential CP donors must attach through the BBD CP donor registration form a copy of their test results which states the following: donor's first and last name, date of test, name of testing facility, and results. In some cases, a prescription or note from their physician, which must list their physician’s name and address and attest to the diagnosis of COVID-19, will be accepted.

Does BBD accept a screenshot(s) of diagnostic testing results?

Yes, if the screenshot image(s) include the potential CP donor’s first and last name, date of test, and the name of the testing facility.

Can CP donors with complete resolution of symptoms be placed on the schedule prior to completing their 14-day deferral period?

No, BBD does not book donors until they can attest to being symptom-free for 14 days, in case symptoms return during that time.

What is the donation frequency and time period of donation for CP?

CP donors can donate a total of 8 times. Antibody titers may spontaneously wane over time, but this has not been studied yet, hence the 3-month donation limit. The minimum time between donations is 7 days, but CP donors have the freedom to donate less frequently, or not return for a repeat donation. 

Can CP donors direct their donation to a family member who is ill from COVID-19?

BBD is not doing directed donations. If donors donate through specific hospital programs (rather than directly with BBD), those units are returned to that hospital, but BBD is focusing on building an inventory that can meet all patient needs. The exception is Columbia and Hopkins, which are participating in randomized controlled trials that include research on donors as well as recipients.

How should CP donors prepare for donation?

Donors should eat, hydrate, and get a good night’s sleep before donating. Visit the Give Blood page for more information on how to prepare for donation.

Do donors need to wear a mask while donating?

Yes, and donors should bring their own mask, but BBD can provide one if needed. The donor’s mask does not need to be a surgical mask; it can be a scarf, bandana or any item that covers his/her face.

What is the purpose of an antibody test in CP donors?

The purpose is to make sure that plasma collected from a CP donor actually contains the expected antibodies against the virus. The antibody testing will be performed with each plasma collection, not just with the first donation, in order to make sure that antibody remains present.

Can CP donors find out their antibody test results?

Yes, donors will receive a letter in the mail with their antibody results after their first CP donation. If the donor’s antibody results are negative, and they have future CP donation appointments scheduled, they will be notified in order to cancel or modify the appointments.


How can CP donors find out their blood type? 

Donors can access their blood type in the Donor Portal.

What are the donor criteria for donating CP?

Donors must meet all standard allogeneic blood donor criteria, and thus may be deferred for reasons unrelated to COVID-19. In addition, they must be at least 14 days from the date of complete symptom resolution.

Is the deferral date set 14 days from the date of resolution of any symptoms related to COVID-19, or from the date of resolution of cough, fever, fatigue, or shortness of breath?

CP donors are asked to defer donation until they have been symptom-free for 14 days. Simply put, they should be afebrile (no fever), not feeling viremic (flu-like symptoms of muscle aches, pain and general tiredness) and free from cough. Donors are eligible to donate if they still lack return of sense of smell and taste (this is not counted in the 14 days asymptomatic).

What is the criteria for the CP donor's temperature?

Donors must meet all standard allogeneic blood donor criteria. BBD criteria for temperature is ≤ 99.5 °F.

Can CP donors who are diabetic still donate?

Yes, as long as the diabetes is well controlled. They should make sure to eat and hydrate prior to their appointment.

Can CP donors with sickle cell trait donate?

Yes, CP donors with sickle cell trait can donate.

What determines how much plasma is collected from a CP donor? 

The donor’s height, weight, and gender determine the amount we collect.

Does BBD accept CP donors who had a positive diagnostic test and have been symptom-free for at least 14 days, but on re-testing are still positive?  

Yes, irrespective of re-testing results, donors are eligible to donate if they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days.

Why does BBD accept CP donors who still have a positive diagnostic test (e.g. nasopharyngeal swab) even though they are 14 days after complete resolution of symptoms?

Studies support that although nasopharyngeal swabs may remain positive for weeks after resolution of symptoms, CP donors are no longer contagious, which is also supported by public health guidelines. For extra precaution, CP donors and staff wear masks during collection.

Does BBD accept CP donors who were completely asymptomatic with their COVID-19 infection?

Yes—they are eligible to donate 14 days after their test date.

Does BBD accept CP donors who did not get testing for diagnosis of COVID-19, but have positive antibody testing results? 

Yes, CP donors who did not receive diagnostic testing for COVID-19 by nasopharyngeal PCR, but are confirmed to have antibodies to COVID-19, are eligible to donate.

Is there a deferral period for a CP donor who has been in close contact with someone that is positive for COVID-19?  

There are no contact-related deferrals for CP donors, including healthcare workers, because they are considered to be immune to re-infection while they have antibody against the virus.

Can CP donors be re-infected with COVID-19?

It is not likely as they have antibody against the virus. However, it is not fully understood at this time. For further questions, please speak with your healthcare provider.

Would weekly donation diminish a CP donor’s own protective antibodies? 

Plasma donation does not lower antibody levels, even when donating as frequently as twice weekly. The body can make more antibodies, and donation takes out only a small amount.

Are CP donor units released to hospitals before confirmation that their antibody test is positive?

No, we test for antibodies prior to releasing the unit.

What are other reassurances that CP donors are no longer infectious? 

Studies show that live virus isn’t able to grow after 14 days from symptom onset (our donors are 14 days after resolution of symptoms). Since recovery time from symptom onset is at least 1 week, CP donors will usually present no earlier than 21 days from symptom onset. Per CDC guidelines, as long as they are 7 days from symptom onset, confirmed COVID-positive people, including healthcare workers, are allowed to discontinue home isolation after only 3 days of absence of fever and improvement in respiratory symptoms. For additional safety, both donor specialists and donors must wear masks, which prevent the spread of potentially infectious respiratory secretions. Per WHO, these masks are good for taking care of people who are sick.