Red Cross begins testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The American Red Cross needs blood donations to meet the rising hospital demands.

Starting Monday, all blood donations will be tested for antibodies, helping the Red Cross gather crucial information about COVID-19.

ARC has Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to test all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, which will give donors an opportunity to know if they have been exposed to the virus.

Like others, Rhonda Keels has not had a reason to be tested for COVID-19 because she has been healthy.

“No testing, but no symptoms,” said Keels.

On Monday, she donated blood because there is a need for all blood types because hospital demands are rising, but donations are not.

When she heard the FDA granted approval for the Red Cross to conduct COVID-19 antibody test, it was a bonus. Her daughter and son-in-law did the same thing when in New York. Their test results were negative for antibodies, and they were relieved, according to Keels.

This antibody test will let donors know whether they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Blood donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and tested at a different lab.

Rodney Wilson with the American Red Cross explained this test will not tell you if you currently have COVID-19, but it will provide information about how the virus is spreading around the country.

“We can determine prevalence of the virus exposure in our communities, and just so individuals can know whether or not they’ve already been exposed,” said Wilson.

That vital information he explained is useful to learn more about the virus.

Debbie Hatfield agreed.

“The more knowledge they have the bigger the database, the more they can learn about this,” said Hatfield.

As for Keels, she is looking beyond the test and is ready to see the results, because she may have a plan.

“If I have the antibodies, then I might be convinced to go and give plasma because they are doing that for people that have had it, and that would be helpful,” said Keels.

The donors can expect to get the results within seven to 10 days after their donation. The Red Cross is asking anyone who feels sick to not donate.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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