LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Donors who give at a Vitalant blood bank will be able to find out if they have COVID-19 antibodies in their system, even if they never had symptoms.
The antibody tests are part of a full panel of tests that Vitalant performs on successful blood donations. Donors are not charged for the tests and costs are subsidized, in part, by The Blood Center Foundation of the Inland Northwest and The Bonfils Blood Center Donor Advised Fund. Donors will be able to see their results approximately 2 weeks after donating by logging into their online donor accounts.
Blood donations are critically needed, according to a Vitalant press release. Donors who give will not only be helping to save lives, but will also be able to find out if their plasma contains antibodies who can help those who are suffering from the virus. It is possible that over time, the broad use of antibody tests and clinical follow-up will provide the medical community with more information on whether a person who has recovered from COVID-19 is at a lower risk of infection, and if so, for how long.
“While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma in the future and help people with the disease,” said Vitalant Chief of Marketing Cliff Numark. “Convalescent plasma can be given directly to patients currently battling COVID-19 to help boost their ability to fight their illness.”
Vitalant began collecting and distributing convalescent plasma in April. For more information, visit vitalant.org/COVIDfree.
Donations of all blood types are critically needed right now, with an especially high need for type O, A-negative and B-negative red blood cells, Vitalant stated. In addition, platelets are always needed by patients for cancer treatments, surgeries and emergencies. Because of its short shelf life—only 5 days—the supply of platelets must be continually replenished.