FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Sept. 3, 2020) -- A group of new Soldiers who have COVID-19 antibodies donated plasma to the Oklahoma Blood Institute Aug. 28, at the 95th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) headquarters.Their plasma will be used for convalescent serum in two studies by the OBI, said Dr. (Lt. Col.) Megan McKinnon, Reynolds Army Health Clinic deputy commander for clinical services.Seventy-seven Soldiers from A Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery, volunteered to participate, but after screening only 17 qualified, said McKinnon. Many of those ineligible had recently received immunizations.Convalescent plasma is one of the few treatments for COVID-19, said Annamarie Bomar, OBI account consultant.“The demand for this product has increased by over 700 percent over the recent weeks,” she said. “It’s going out the door faster than we can collect it.”The convalescent plasma drive here was the largest that OBI has performed; 10 of its employees were collecting the donations during the five-hour blood drive, Bomar said.Donors’ blood was removed and run through a machine which separated the  plasma from the blood cells in a process call plasmapheresis, said McKinnon.  The blood cells were then returned to the body. The process takes longer than a whole blood donation.Pvt. Michael Maxwell, age 23, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was one of the Soldiers who donated. He said he’s been a regular blood donor and felt comfortable with the plasmapheresis process.Maxwell was informed that his donation could save three lives.“I would have been OK with one,” he said. “I feel like a superhero.”The plasma collected at Fort Sill will be used at hospitals throughout the United States, Bomar said.Fort Sill has always been one organization that OBI can always rely on,  and it stepped up to do this convalescent plasma collection, Bomar said. “It just shows the true heroes that they are.”