Blood Connection donors receive free antibody tests

Published: May. 11, 2020 at 7:39 PM EDT
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Donors at The Blood Connection’s mobile center in Washington were among the first to receive free COVID-19 antibody testing as part of their donation.

“I’m glad they’re providing that. I actually wondered a little bit if they were going to do antibody testing on it," Stafford added.

The Blood Connection services both North and South Carolina. They have partnered with Vidant Medical Center and CarolinaEast in eastern Carolina to set up their mobile donation centers.

They say the antibody testing is primarily a means to educate their donors.

“Donors had asked us over and over if an antibody test was ever going to come down the line. We want them to have the knowledge of whether they’re going to have the antibodies or not," explained Allie Van Dyke with The Blood Connection.

After giving blood, donors will know within seven days whether the test is positive or negative.

A positive test, however, does not mean a person has been infected with the virus.

“It does not mean you are immune to COVID-19 and does not mean you had a COVID-19 infection. What that means is your body had an immune response to the virus at some point and your body created antibodies," says Van Dyke.

With no evidence of COVID-19 spread through blood transfusions, healthcare workers are urging people to donate.

“There are still hospital patients with blood disorders who need cancer treatments, there are trauma victims who still need blood donations," Van Dyke added.

Because with each donation helping up to three people, every little bit counts.

“A stable, adequate blood supply is key to any community," Van Dyke urged.

The Blood Connection requires 600 donations per day to service their healthcare facilities in North and South Carolina. They say donations were cut in half when the pandemic started but they are now once again receiving their regular donation supply.

Van Dyke also went on to say that the free antibody test is a simple surface test with a positive or negative result. They cannot test for concentration levels at this time.

Anyone with questions seeks additional information on the test should contact their doctor or local health department.

Those interested in donating can go to The Blood Connection's website and simply enter their zip code to find a mobile donation center near them.