Rhode Island Blood Center continues COVID antibody testing through February

Their primary goal is to find people that may qualify to donate convalescent plasma

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Rhode Island Blood Center is looking for people like you to donate blood.  The pandemic continues to impact blood supply on a local and regional level, as more donors stay home, and on-site blood drives at schools and workplaces remain limited.

Rhode Island Blood Center spokesperson Kara LeBlanc says, “So, that just means that those people that used to give at those drives really need to find a center to give at, or another community blood drive that’s operating.”

In December, the blood center began a new program that’s now been extended through the end of February.  If you donate blood, they’ll test it for COVID antibodies, an indication that your immune system has reacted to prior exposure to the virus.  The primary goal is to find donors who may qualify to donate convalescent plasma.

LeBlanc says, “Convalescent plasma is still very much needed, and is a priority for us to collect to provide to hospitals who have patients battling COVID that are in very serious condition.”

The testing could also convince more potential donors to book appointments, curious to see if they’ve been exposed to the virus in the past.

LeBlanc says, “Now that they’ve overcome that fear or ambivalence about donating blood, they will become lifelong donors with us.  So, that would certainly be a secondary benefit to offering this antibody testing.”

Testing is available with donations at Rhode Island Blood Center mobile drives and donor centers statewide.

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island