OneBlood, Central Florida’s main blood bank, announced this week it will begin testing all blood donations for coronavirus antibodies for the foreseeable future.
Each donor will be able to see if their immune system has produced antibodies to COVID-19, regardless of whether the donor has ever shown symptoms for the virus, and be able to donate it as convalescent plasma. Transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.
Antibody testing will provide important information to state health officials as they work to safely reopen Florida’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 antibody test does not test for the presence of COVID-19.
Antibody testing has been available in Central Florida, but not very widespread and tests not widely available beyond health care workers and first responders. Drive-up facilities were added in Jacksonville and at the Orlando Convention Center but have had long wait times.
The antibody testing will be conducted in addition to the standard disease testing that is routinely performed on all blood donations, but donations taken prior to this week cannot be retroactively tested for antibodies.
If you’d like to donate blood, OneBlood is asking that you make an appointment to ensure your spot as the organization continues to follow social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Appointments can be made online at www.oneblood.org or by calling 1-888-9DONATE for OneBlood locations or the mobile Big Red Bus. Results will be available in the donor portal approximately 48 hours post-donation. Provide an email to the phlebotomist during registration in order to activate an account to get the results.