COLORADO SPRINGS — Starting this month blood donation centers like Vitalant are testing all samples for COVID-19 antibodies.
“We are definitely trying to make up for the cancellations and lost donations,” Vitalant Marketing & Communication Specialist Brooke Way said.
If you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies that means you may have had previous exposure to COVID-19. Your body has developed specific antibodies to the virus, but this is not the same thing as getting a diagnosis for the Coronavirus.
“All other infectious disease tests we run on all of our blood donations,” Way said. “If you are wondering if you have COVID-19 right now you need a different test administered.”
But what does it mean if you do have the antibodies?
FOX21’s Carly Moore spokes to Leon Kelly about antibody testing.
“The way humans respond normally is, you have an infection, your body responds to that infection — fights it off. then you’ve created antibodies, specific to that virus or bacteria,” Dr. Leon Kelly said.
However — Dr. Kelly said there are still a lot of questions:
- How long to do the antibodies live inside your body?
- If they are there do they provide any immunity?
- Do they prevent us from getting the infection again?
He says in some cases immunity goes away and people need to be re-introduced to the illness, like the flu and that’s why experts recommend a flu shot every year.
“There is really no need to hurry up and get an antibody test,” said Dr. Kelly. “Because, if we test you in six months and that anti-body has gone away, well, you don’t have immunity now to it anyway. Obviously, because you don’t have enough antibodies left floating around to make a difference if you were to be re-exposed.”
He clarifies that the anti-body test shows if you had the virus previously not if you are unaffected now at least until more research is done.
“You had the virus. You survived, it doesn’t mean squat,” Dr. Kelly said. “As of now.”
If you test positive for the COVID-19 antibodies, you may also be able to donate convalescent plasma to help people who are fighting COVID-19.
Vitalant asks you make an appointment for both donations.
This is so that they can ensure social distancing inside. and they say donating is safe because they are disinfecting everything and everyone is required to wear a mask.