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Blood bank to test for COVID-19 antibodies

Testing blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies is a win-win.

Donors find out if they may have been exposed to the virus and Community Blood Bank, which will offer antibody testing to all donors starting Friday, will be able to build a supply of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP).

“In an effort to recruit more CCP donors to help increase the area supply of this important treatment, the CBB is now offering antibody testing to all donors through Nov. 30,” Community Relations Specialist Jaclyn Seymour said.

“Community Blood Bank is dedicated to providing vital blood products to our partner hospitals, and CCP continues to be one of the most widely sought treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” Executive Director Deanna Renaud said.. “In addition, we need blood donors to give badly needed red cells so that we can maintain a safe blood supply for all patients.”

The first opportunities for the tests at drives in Warren County will be noon to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Redeemer Center; and noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday at Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department.

According to Seymour, an antibody test looks for evidence that a body has produced antibodies against a certain virus. In the case of a COVID-19 antibody test, “the test is meant to determine whether you may have had previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus known to cause COVID-19.”

“CCP is a plasma donation that also contains the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies within the plasma,” she said. “Transfusing these antibodies through plasma is one of the approved treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”

Donation appointments are strongly encouraged, Seymour said, and may be scheduled by contacting Mobile Drive Coordinator Shari Jerman at (814) 688-3696.

Those interested in the antibody test should let a staff member know.

According to Seymour, “it is important to note:

¯ An antibody test is not a COVID-19 test;

¯ An antibody test is not the nasal swab patients receive to test for COVID-19;

¯ An antibody test does not diagnose COVID-19;

¯ A positive test result does not guarantee immunity from COVID-19;

¯ Donors who feel unwell or who are displaying symptoms of any illness are not eligible to donate and should not present to Community Blood Bank;

¯ Donors must wear a facial covering over both the nose and mouth at any blood collection location; and

¯ Donors must maintain social distancing at any blood collection location.

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