Screening blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- The South Bend Medical Foundation is now testing all their donated blood for coronavirus antibodies as of Monday morning.

This will let asymptomatic people know if they have ever had the virus and could ultimately hold the key to someone's recovery.

This is a huge step forward in the fight against COVID-19 because if you do test positive for coronavirus antibodies, you could then in turn help someone still fighting the virus.

"We are doing this in the hopes of finding convalescent plasma donors," says Mary Ankrapp the South Bend Medical Foundation's Blood Donor recruitment supervisor.

Convalescent plasma is a part of your blood if you have been asymptomatic and it is highly sought after to help sick coronavirus patients.

"That plasma if we take a donation from them can be given to transfusion to a. Patient in the hospital who has a severe case of the Covid and it can help them recover," says Ankrapp.

All it takes is a blood donation because the COVID-19 antibody test is now just a part of their general blood profile.

If you do test positive, don't worry, it is a good thing.

"Antibodies are safe for the donor and the patient actually very helpful to the recipient in the hospital who is sick," says Ankrapp.

So what happens if you go donate blood and test positive for antibodies?

“We will call them and send them an email letting them know the test results were positive and that we would like them to become a convalescent plasma donor," says Ankrapp.

Giving back through blood donation is now more important than ever as extra patients from the coronavirus are still requiring plenty of care and supplies.

“Its just so very important to take this seriously and to do everything that I can to help facilitate the coming up of a cure or vaccination or something to help everyone— I’m a universal donor I just have done it for a number of years and it just makes you feel good to give back," says long time donor, Sharon Engstron.

These new testing capabilities are a bit of a treat in Engstron's eyes, who says she didn't know she would be one of the first donations being tested.

“I had no idea but I’m thrilled to hear this. Good for south bend it’s awesome we have this technology and that we can offer this to our patients. They said that’s my little treat and I was yeah that’s cool!" says Engstron.

Share this article: