Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms is an initiative by South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to help establish a stable, easily replenished blood product that can be used in emergency situations. 

The program is based on research done by the U.S. Army and the Mayo Clinic. The studies found that type O donations from men with lower levels of certain types of antibodies can be used for whole blood transfusions in patients of any blood type.

The program will be comprised of male O positive donors who meet the required levels of antibodies. BioBridge Global has also partnered with three local emergency helicopter companies who will be carrying the stored whole blood (SWB) for trauma victims, making San Antonio one of the first cities to implement this program.

When did the initiative begin?

Testing of daily collections started in October 2017. The rollout for use in emergency situations began on January 29, 2018. 

Why only men?

Men tend to have lower levels of certain antibodies in their blood, which can help prevent reactions in patients who receive a transfusion. This is critical in emergency situations when there is no time to test a patient’s blood type.

What are the advantages of this program?

Using stored whole blood (SWB) for trauma victims has been shown to be safe and effective, and, when kept in proper conditions, SWB preserves platelets and their functionality beyond the current 3-5 days. 

This program also will expand the pool of products available for emergency use, since O positive is the single largest blood type in the United States. It also will help alleviate shortages of O negative blood, which has been used for universal donations for many years.

Are there other eligibility requirements?

Just one: Donors cannot be on an aspirin regimen since that affects the functioning of platelets in the donated blood.

How is BioBridge Global involved?

The blood collection will be done by STBTC and testing for antibody levels will be conducted by QualTex Laboratories, which worked with the Army to shorten testing times. 

What do you have to do?

It’s simple: Donate two to three times a year.

Male O positive donors can schedule an appointment below. On the day of your donation, ask if you meet the requirements to join the program. If you have additional questions about Brothers in Arms, you can call 210-731-5590.