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LifeServe to test every unit of donated blood for COVID-19 antibodies

DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -- LifeServe Blood Center is coordinating a new process with Iowa State University Research Laboatory to test every unit of donated blood for COVID-19 antibodies.

The new effort is to better help understand the spread of the virus among the healthy population. It is not a test to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19.

“This is a great step in helping to understand the spread of COVID-19 across the state.  In partnership with Iowa State University’s Research Lab, every volunteer blood donor who consents to this testing will be able to receive a free COVID-19 antibody test as a part of the normal blood donation process,” said Danielle West, LifeServe’s Director of PR and Marketing.

West says test results will be provided to Iowa's Public Health Department.

LifeServe says COVID-19 antibody testing will be used to identify who can provide convalescent plasma for critically ill COVID-19 patients. They say convalescent plasma has become a critical component to the treatment for seriously ill COVID-1 patients.

“Convalescent plasma has made an incredible impact on our treatment options of COVID-19 at UnityPoint Health -  Des Moines,” said Dr. Leyla Best, an infectious specialist at UnityPoint Health. "Convalescent plasma is readily available to us when needed for our hospitalized patients and has also helped other patients around the country. The addition of antibody testing on all donors is a significant step in this continued care.” 

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available in a blood donor’s LifeServe Blood Center online profile 5-7 days after their blood donation.

This is not a diagnostic test. Those who are feeling unwell or who are exhibiting symptoms are not eligible to donate blood.

If individuals suspect they have COVID-19, they must cancel their blood donation appointment and contact their primary care provider.

Only individuals who are healthy, volunteer blood donors are eligible for antibody testing.

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Dean Welte

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