American Red Cross to start testing all blood, plasma and platelet donations for coronavirus antibodies ‘to give donors peace of mind’
- On Monday, the Red Cross announced it will be testing all donated blood, plasma and platelet for coronavirus antibodies
- The test will not determine if someone is currently infected but if they were infected in the past
- Officials hope testing for antibodies will increase the number of donations, which have fallen by 86,000 since the start of the pandemic
- Meanwhile, over the last month, there has been an increase in blood requests at various clinics by about 30%
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The American Red Cross has announced it will begin testing all donated blood, platelet and plasma donations for coronavirus antibodies.
The tests are not diagnostic tests to see if a person is currently infected but to determine if someone has been infected with COVID-19 in the past.
In a press release on Monday, the organization said it hopes it can give people peace of mind to know whether or not they’ve been exposed to the virus.
‘During these uncertain times, the Red Cross hopes that testing for COVID-19 antibodies will provide its valued donors insight into whether they may have been exposed to this coronavirus,’ the statement read.
On Monday, the Red Cross announced it will be testing all donated blood, plasma and platelet donations for coronavirus antibodies. Pictured: Deputy Chief Patricia Cassidy of the Jersey City Police Department has blood drawn to test for coronavirus antibodies at a testing site in Jersey City, New Jersey, May 4
Officials hope testing for antibodies will increase the number of donations, which have fallen by 86,000 since the start of the pandemic. Pictured: A phlebotomist processes specimens of people getting tested for coronavirus antibodies at the Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, New York, April 24
Sample will be sent to a testing laboratory, where an antibody test approved by the US Food and Drug Administration will be run.
Everyone is eligible for this, even if they haven’t had symptoms or been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.
The Red Cross hopes testing for antibodies will increase the number of blood donations, which has severely fallen since the start of the pandemic.
While blood drives continue to be canceled, or the number of people that can attend a drive are restricted, the need for donations remains higher than ever
‘There is an urgent need for blood donations right now to meet the needs of patients in hospitals as surgical procedures and treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to COVID-19 resume,’ the Red Cross said.
More importantly, the blood bank supply need to remains at consistent levels because blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled.
Across the US, approximately 2,700 drives have been canceled, which led to 86,000 fewer blood donations.
The Red Cross says there has been an increase in blood requests at various clinics by about 30 percent.
All donors must wear masks and have their temperature take before their blood is drawn, and anyone experiencing symptoms such as coughing is asked to stay home.
Donors will receive results within seven to 10 day either through the Red Cross app or on the organization’s website.
The number of positive tests will be reported to state and federal health agencies, but personal details such as names and addresses will not be included.
‘As a humanitarian organization and member of the broader health community, the Red Cross has adapted our services to help meet the needs of this extraordinary time,’ Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a statement.
‘We recognize that individuals and public health organizations desire more information about COVID-19, and as an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is fortunate to be able to help during this pandemic.’
In the US, there are more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 116,000 deaths.