ST PAUL, Minn. — The American Red Cross announced it is now testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies.
The tests will determine if a donor's immune system has produced antibodies for the coronavirus, whether the donor experienced symptoms or not. Test results will be available online within 7-10 days.
The American Red Cross emphasized the new testing is not intended as a diagnostic test for coronavirus, since a positive antibody test does not confirm current infection or immunity.
"As an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is pleased to provide more information about COVID-19 to our valued donors," said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services, in a statement. "If you are feeling healthy and well, please schedule an appointment to not only help saves lives but also learn about your potential exposure to COVID-19."
The antibody testing is now underway and will continue for a limited time.
In the meantime, the American Red Cross said the need for blood donations remains urgent, as hospitals resume procedures and treatments requiring blood products.
The Red Cross said it is taking additional safety precautions at its donation centers and blood drives, including temperature checks, social distancing, and the use of face coverings.
Donation appointments can be made by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), through the Red Cross Donor App, or online at redcrossblood.org. A full list of donation locations is also available online.