Anyone who wishes to donate blood at a OneBlood center or bus will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
The Orlando-based nonprofit blood center announced this week that it would test all donations from healthy donors for antibodies related to the coronavirus, according to a media release. The antibody test is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and will indicate if a donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, even if they never experienced any symptoms of the respiratory illness.
All donors will be able to view their results in about 48 hours online at oneblood.org. Donors who test positive for COVID-19 will also receive a letter in the mail.
All potential patients must complete a questionnaire and undergo a routine screening, said Susan Forbes, OneBlood’s senior vice president of corporate communications.
“Anyone with a fever will be deferred,” she said. “All donations are appointment-based only, and we’re only allowing a certain number of people into a center or a bus at a time to help streamline the process and prevent donor surge.”
Donations that present COVID-19 antibodies could be used in plasma transfusions, depending on the type of donation, Forbes said. Blood with COVID-19 antibodies also will be submitted into the general blood supply.
OneBlood, which offers blood and plasma donations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama, is also accepting convalescent plasma donations. The antibody tests will help identify people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibody-rich plasma that could help other ill patients recover.
Coronavirus information will be passed along to the Florida Department of Health to help state officials identify hot spots of the virus in Florida, Forbes said.
“OneBlood is working closely with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to provide de-identified data on the number of people testing positive and the geographical location," she said.
OneBlood will offer the antibody testing to all donors for the foreseeable future. The nonprofit began collecting convalescent plasma in April.
“All our team members are wearing masks, and masks are available to donors,” Forbes said. “We have a very sterile environment to begin with, but are taking extra precautions like changing the bed after each donor and taking temperatures before they donate. We are regulated by the FDA and already follow strict safety protocols.”
To make an appointment visit www.oneblood.org or call 1-888-9DONATE.
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