By SHERRY DIGMON
If you donate blood with LifeSouth blood services, you’ll automatically be tested for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019). Antibodies are proteins that are made in response to foreign substances, or antigens, in your body. Once formed, these antibodies can recognize the foreign substance and help the immune response that fights off diseases.
This is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19, but it is a test to determine if you may have been exposed to the virus.
Phillip and Arelene Mack of Atmore recently donated with LifeSouth, which serves Atmore Community Hospital.
“I just wanted to share with you the new COVID-19 antibody results letter that a LifeSouth blood donor will now receive,” Arelene said in a recent email to Atmore News. “Phillip and I donated May 28, and just got the results by email … Ours were both non-reactive, but we were hoping to already have some antibodies built up. Apparently not, or at least none were detected. I like the fact that the letter identifies the specific antibody test being used by LifeSouth. Feel free to share this [information]. Maybe it will encourage others to donate blood.”
A positive or reactive result means that antibodies to COVID-19 have been detected in your blood and you have likely been exposed to the virus. This result means that you could qualify to be a convalescent plasma donor under the current FDA guidelines.
Convalescent plasma is a term for plasma taken from a donor who has recovered from a disease. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood where antibodies reside. Some research suggests that transfusing plasma with preformed antibodies against COVID-19 may help speed recovery and prevent mortality in those critically ill with COVID-19.