The American Red Cross has begun testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. During these uncertain times, the Red Cross hopes that testing for COVID-19 antibodies will provide its valued donors insight into whether they may have been exposed to this coronavirus.
The antibody test is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed symptoms. For the next few months, Red Cross blood, platelet and plasma donations will be tested using samples obtained at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory, where the samples will also undergo routine screening and infectious disease testing. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
“As a humanitarian organization and member of the broader health community, the Red Cross has adapted our services to help meet the needs of this extraordinary time,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We recognize that individuals and public health organizations desire more information about COVID-19, and as an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is fortunate to be able to help during this pandemic.”
There is an urgent need for blood donations right now, to meet the needs of patients in hospitals as surgical procedures and treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to COVID-19 resume. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled, as many businesses and community organizations restrict the number of individuals at their locations creating challenges for a stable blood supply. It’s important to remember that blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled.
To schedule an appointment to give blood, visit RedCrossBlood.org, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or activate the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
Red Cross donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through our Red Cross Blood Donor App or on our donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
With the start of antibody testing, the Red Cross anticipates increased interest in blood donation appointments in the coming days. If there is not an appointment immediately available in a given area, donations in the days and weeks ahead are still critically important to ensure we can build a stable blood supply throughout the difficult summer months.
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