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OneBlood testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies

Posted at 5:12 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 18:23:57-04

TAMPA, Fla. — OneBlood says all blood donations are being tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

The test, which is authorized by the FDA, will indicate if a donor's immune system has produced antibodies to the virus regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms.

RELATED: OneBlood collecting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients

Donors will be able to see their results about 48 hours after donations by logging into their OneBlood donor portal. On average, OneBlood collects about 2,500 donations a day across their service area.

"The testing brings many benefits. In addition to donors learning if they have the antibody, OneBlood will be identifying additional people who can be COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors," said Susan Forbes, OneBlood's senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations.

Plasma from recovered patients is being used to help those still fighting COVID-19. The plasma is transferred into a patient still fighting to help boost their immune system.

OneBlood says the antibody testing will also provide crucial statistical information to health officials.

"OneBlood is working closely with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees M.D., to provide de-identified data on the number of people testing positive and the geographical location. This information will help in decision making for reopening the economy," said Forbes.

Justin Garver is a first responder who's transported COVID-19 positive patients. He didn't know about the antibody testing until he walked through the donation center doors. However, he says if he tested positive for antibodies, he'd donate plasma, too.

"I think it helps having a little bit of a knowledge that our bodies are able to help a little bit and it’ll provide a little bit of comfort as well," said Garver.

Douglas Bagge is another One Blood donor. He sees the benefits the additional testing could bring for the fight against coronavirus.

“I think it’s very important not only to find out if you’d be a good candidate for a donor of plasma donation, but I think the more we’re able to determine that the antibodies have spread throughout the population, that will help us with heard immunity, according to what I’ve heard," said Bagge. "That would be a good first step toward allowing us to reopen the country for all kinds of activity.”

From mid-March to May, OneBlood lost more than 3,000 blood drives due to cancellations as schools and businesses closed. They say that meant more than 50,000 blood donations the drives would've accounted for.

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