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San Diego Blood Bank Starts COVID-19 Antibody Tests Today To Identify Plasma Donors

A San Diegan donates blood at the San Diego Blood Bank's main office, Dec. 2019.

Photo by Andi Dukleth

Above: A San Diegan donates blood at the San Diego Blood Bank's main office, Dec. 2019.

The San Diego Blood Bank announced Monday that from now through the end of July, it will test all blood donations for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, the virus that causes the COVID-19.

The blood bank will use the results of those tests to help identify potential convalescent plasma donors.

The test detects if a person's immune system has developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, regardless of whether he or she showed symptoms. However, it's not a diagnostic test and will not detect active infections or recent exposure.

Donors who are found positive for SARS-CoV-2 will be able to donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma the next time they donate. The plasma is being used to treat critically ill coronavirus patients.

The test is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. Per state law, all reactive and nonreactive test results will be reported to the California Department of Public Health.

Donors will receive results in their blood bank online wellness portal 7-10 days after donation.

To be eligible to donate blood, a prospective donor must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health. Appointments can be made online or by calling 619-400-8251. Appointments are required.

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