Plasma from whole blood donations made through the American Red Cross that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.
Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood now to help ensure coronavirus patients and others who depend on transfusions have needed blood products this fall.
In April, the Red Cross began collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma from previously diagnosed individuals, who could only give at one of approximately 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country. Convalescent plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that may help the most critical patients actively fighting this virus. Now, whole blood donations made at any Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center could be helpful in this effort.
“Donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies now undergo secondary testing to confirm antibody results, and that enables the Red Cross to then potentially use the plasma from those donations for COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a statement provided by the American Red Cross. “With approximately 2% of the U.S. population testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, every donation is important to ensure patients with coronavirus have access to every treatment option available to them.”
The Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to schedule an appointment, download the free Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
In thanks, the Red Cross is offering a $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card to five lucky winners who come to give in October. Terms and conditions apply; visit rcblood.org/unite. Additionally, those who come to give by the end of September will receive a free haircut coupon by email to participating Sport Clips Haircuts locations. More information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/Sport-Clips.
About antibody testing
Antibody testing may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual experienced COVID-19 symptoms. Donations are tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities, Sept. 25-Oct. 15 in New Jersey:
9/30/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Browns Mills United Methodist Church, 2 Pemberton Browns Mills Road
10/3/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Tabernacle Baptist Church, 150 E. Second St.
10/8/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 366 E. Broad St.
10/9/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Burlington Masonic Lodge No. 32, 2308 Mount Holly Road
10/13/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2618 New Albany Road
9/28/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., VFW Post No. 6590, 22 Wrightstown-Cookstown Road
10/12/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 939 Bridgeboro St.
10/19/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Church of the Holy Name, 260 Conrow Road
9/26/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Our Lady Queen of Peace, 1603 Marne Highway
10/4/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Maple Shade-Moorestown Masonic Lodge No. 281, 15 N. Fellowship Road
9/29/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St. Isaac Jogues Church, 3 Lord Place
10/1/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Blue Barn Recreation Center, 1004 Tuckerton Road
10/6/2020: 3:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., J. Harold Van Zant Elementary School, 270 Conestoga Drive
10/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Blue Barn Recreation Center, 1004 Tuckerton Road
9/30/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Medford Masonic Lodge No. 178, 25 Bank St.
10/1/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Medford United Methodist Church, 2 Hartford Road
9/25/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Converge Church, 802 N. Lenola Road
9/28/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 446 E. Camden Ave.
10/5/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Virtua, 401 Young Ave.
9/22/2020: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 121 High St.
9/25/2020: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Virtua Memorial Hospital, 175 Madison Ave.
10/8/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Burlington County Human Services Facility, 795 Woodlane Road
10/10/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Mount Laurel EMS, 201 Masonville Road
10/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Rowan College at Burlington County, Votta Hall, 3331 Route 38
10/6/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Beverly-Riverside Masonic Lodge No. 107, 621 S. Chester Ave.
10/14/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Beverly-Riverside Masonic Lodge No. 107, 621 S. Chester Ave.
9/24/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Cinnaminson Baptist Church, 2801 New Albany Road
10/5/2020: 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Sacred Heart School, 102 Fourth St.
10/13/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Westampton Recreation Center, 50 Springside Road
About blood donation
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.