When you donate blood with Bloodworks Northwest in February, you will find out if you have COVID-19 antibodies that may help patients in Western Washington and Oregon currently fighting coronavirus.
That’s because Bloodworks is extending their testing of all whole blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies in the month of February.
The antibody test indicates if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) regardless of whether the person ever showed symptoms. The donor will receive their test result by mail about two weeks after donation. Plasma from blood donors who test positive for antibodies may be designated for COVID-19 patients immediately. Donors with positive test results will also receive follow up contact from Bloodworks to determine if they can make a convalescent plasmapheresis donation, which may further help patients. Information for donors about the antibody testing is available at bloodworksnw.org/covid19study/antibody-testing.
A positive test result means the donor could help patients with a convalescent plasma donation for someone currently sick with COVID-19. Studies have shown that by transfusing the plasma from a person who has recovered from coronavirus into a patient still fighting the virus, it may help boost the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover. So far, Bloodworks has been able to provide more than 6,000 convalescent plasma units across Washington, Oregon, and elsewhere in the U.S.
“Local hospitals are counting on all of us to ensure an ample blood supply,” 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 provide to patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections. Every eligible donor must come forward so we can support as many patients as possible in our community.”
Appointments and masks are required at any Bloodworks Donor Center or Pop-Up locations. Only donors who are feeling healthy and meet eligibility criteria should donate blood. The antibody test does not indicate active infection; it suggests a past infection with COVID-19.
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. Donors must wait two weeks after each COVID-19 vaccination dose before donating blood.
Bloodworks is fighting COVID-19 on every front, through longer hours at Donor Centers, unique Pop-Up blood donation opportunities in the community, participation in collecting convalescent plasma, 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.