Vitalant, formerly known as Blood Centers of the Pacific, announced Monday that it will begin testing all blood donations for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
The nonprofit blood collection organization serves hospital patients throughout the Bay Area and has a critical need for blood donations.
Vitalant will use an FDA-authorized antibody test on each donation with the hope that it can provide local medical officials with more information on the virus.
"While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma in the future and help people with the disease," Vitalant chief of marketing Cliff Numark said.
Convalescent plasma, which is plasma extracted from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19, is currently being given to patients hospitalized with severe cases of the disease under the FDA's expanded access authorization. Scientists are currently studying whether treating patients with convalescent plasma can help boost their ability to fight off the virus.
Donations of all blood types are needed. In particular, blood types O, A-negative and B-negative are critically needed in Bay Area hospitals.
Potential donors can schedule an appointment at one of Vitalant's donor centers by going to vitalant.org or calling (877) 258-4825.
– Bay City News and KQED Science