Red Cross resumes testing for COVID antibodies
WATERTOWN – To help COVID-19 patients with weakened immune systems, the American Red Cross has resumed testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time, and plasma from donations with high levels of COVID-19 antibodies can be used as convalescent plasma for immunocompromised people.
While the Red Cross is ensuring that doctors have access to this treatment option for the most seriously ill patients facing COVID-19, blood donations are still needed daily to help cancer patients, victims trauma and people with blood disorders.
The Red Cross blood supply remains vulnerable and those interested in donating are urged to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets. Everyone who donates in March will receive a $10 e-gift card from Fanatics. They will also be in a raffle for two tickets to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Details are available at rcblood.org/team.
To book an appointment, use the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross first tested COVID-19 antibody donations earlier in the pandemic to provide convalescent plasma to patients. When infection rates declined and new treatment options became available, the program was discontinued. But with the rise of new variants, hospitals began to research more treatments and new clinical trial data showed that convalescent plasma could benefit immunocompromised patients, so the Red Cross is taking over this program.
Antibody tests will show whether the donor’s immune system produced antibodies against the coronavirus after vaccination or infection, whether or not they developed symptoms. COVID-19 antibody test results will be available 1-2 weeks after donation in the Red Cross Blood Donor app or portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
Every Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows a high standard of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented. have been put in place to help protect the health of all in attendance.
Donors are requested to make an appointment before their arrival. To donate blood, individuals must bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other required IDs upon check-in.