When you donate blood with Bloodworks Northwest, you will find out if you have COVID-19 antibodies that can help patients in Western Washington and Oregon currently fighting coronavirus. That’s because Bloodworks is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies through Sept. 30 as the demand for antibody rich convalescent plasma continues to grow in the Pacific Northwest.
Here’s more from our friends at Bloodworks:
The antibody test will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to coronavirus, regardless of whether the person ever showed symptoms. The donor will receive their test result by mail within two weeks of donation. Plasma from blood donations that tests positive for antibodies will likely be designated for COVID-19 patients. Donors with positive test results will also receive follow up contact from Bloodworks to determine if they can make a convalescent plasma donation to further help patients. Information for donors about the antibody testing is available at bloodworksnw.org.
“Local hospitals are counting on all of us to ensure an ample blood supply this summer,” said Bloodworks’ Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson. “Providing COVID-19 antibody testing indicates for donors if they had previous exposure and infection whether they realized it or not and if they have the special ability to help build a supply of convalescent plasma to treat patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections. Every eligible donor must come forward so we can treat as many patients as possible in our community.”
Appointments are required at any Bloodworks Donor Center or Pop-Up locations. The antibody test does not determine whether you are actively infected with COVID-19. Only donors who are feeling healthy and meet donation eligibility criteria should donate blood. All blood types are needed, especially Type O.
COVID-19 convalescent plasma remains the best treatment option for COVID-19 until a vaccine becomes available. Studies have shown that by transfusing the plasma from a person who has recovered from coronavirus into a patient still fighting the virus, it can help boost the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover. So far, Bloodworks has been able to provide more than 1,000 convalescent plasma units across Washington, Oregon, and elsewhere in the U.S., and the number of units requested by local hospitals is increasing daily.
First-time and repeat donors are urged to make their one-hour donation appointment today as a safe- and essential action to support local patients. Donors looking for same day appointments should call 800-398-7888. There is no inherent risk of getting coronavirus from the donation procedure itself; Bloodworks follows all CDC and local health guidelines and is taking extra precautions to protect staff and donors, including requiring donation appointments, continuous sanitation, prohibiting guests, and asking donors to bring a mask/face covering to their donation. Bloodworks has posted information addressing questions and concerns for blood donors at bloodworksnw.org/coronavirus. Blood donation takes about an hour from registration to post-donation refreshment. Information about who can donate and where, is available at www.bloodworksnw.org
Bloodworks is fighting COVID-19 on every front, through longer hours at Donor Centers, unique Pop-Up blood donation opportunities in the community, through convalescent plasma treatments, to lifesaving research, including investigating whether blood type is a risk factor for severe infection. Now Bloodworks COVID-19 antibody testing will also provide important information for public health officials trying to determine the positive rate in the population.
Bloodworks Donor Centers and Pop-Up Centers:
About Bloodworks Northwest – Bloodworks Northwest is backed by 75 years of Northwest history and 250,000 donors. It is local, nonprofit, independent, volunteer-supported and community-based. A recognized leader in transfusion medicine, Bloodworks serves patients at hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska — partnering closely with local hospitals to deliver the highest level of patient care. Comprehensive services include blood components, complex cross-matching, specialized lab services for organ transplants, care for patients with blood disorders, and collection of cord blood stem cells for cancer treatment. Bloodworks Research Institute performs leading-edge research in blood biology, transfusion medicine, blood storage and treatment of blood disorders. Patients with traumatic injuries, undergoing surgeries or organ transplantation, or receiving treatment for cancer and blood disorders all depend on our services, expertise, laboratories and research. Blood donation appointments can be scheduled at bloodworksnw.org.