For a limited time, the American Red Cross has resumed testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Plasma from routine donations that have high levels of COVID-19 antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to help meet the needs of COVID-19 patients with weakened immune systems.
At the same time, the Red Cross blood supply remains vulnerable, and individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation. In the days and weeks ahead, it’s critically important the Red Cross maintains a readily available blood supply so hospital patients can receive the care they need. To make an appointment, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).
The Red Cross first tested donations for COVID-19 antibodies earlier in the pandemic to provide convalescent plasma for patients. When infection rates decreased and new treatment options became available, the Red Cross discontinued the program. With the surge of new variants, hospitals began to seek out more treatments for their most vulnerable patients, and new clinical trial data has shown that convalescent plasma may benefit immunocompromised patients. The Red Cross is resuming this program to ensure doctors have every tool available to support treatment.
Antibody testing will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus following vaccination or infection, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available 1-2 weeks after donation in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.
All who come to give blood or platelets in March will get a $10 e-gift card, thanks to Fanatics. Plus, donors will also automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles.