Local OneBlood centers test blood donations for coronavirus antibody

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)⁠— Now, you can find out if your body has built up a defense against COVID-19. A local blood center is testing all donations for the coronavirus antibody.

If you donate blood with OneBlood you will find out whether or not you have the coronavirus antibody.  

The antibody test is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms. 

“When the antibody is present, the light source attaches to it and emits light,” OneBlood Laboratory Director Ben Reynolds said. “And then the instrument captures that light count to determine how strong that antibody, or how much of that antibody, is present.”

“In addition to donors learning if they have the antibody, it is also going to help identify additional people who can be COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors,” OneBlood Senior Vice President of Communications Susan Forbes said. 

The antibody testing will be performed in addition to the standard infectious disease testing that occurs with all blood donations.

“Convalescent plasma donors hold the potential key in helping critically ill coronavirus patients recover by transfusing plasma that is rich with the coronavirus antibodies into patients still fighting the virus. It can help boost the patient’s immune system, and potentially help them recover,” Forbes said.

OneBlood began collecting and distributing COVID-19 convalescent plasma in April. They are one of the first blood centers to begin testing for the coronavirus antibody and plan to provide the antibody testing for the foreseeable future.

OneBlood’s COVID-19 antibody testing will also provide important statistical information to public health officials regarding de-identified data on the number of people testing positive and the geographical location. 

“With no cure or vaccine that can prevent the coronavirus, doctors are turning to convalescent plasma to treat their critically ill coronavirus patients. So by identifying more people with the antibody, it will only further ensure that a ready supply of convalescent plasma is available at all times,” Forbes said.

Donors will be able to see their results approximately 48 hours after donating by logging into their donor portal at oneblood.org

Due to social distancing measures that OneBlood has in place, all donors are required to make an appointment to donate. Appointments can be made online at www.oneblood.org or by calling 1-888-9DONATE.

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