ROCKFORD, Ill. (Aug. 31, 2020) – The Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) will test all successfully donated units of blood for COVID-19 antibodies starting today to see if blood donors can help others diagnosed with coronavirus by donating convalescent plasma (CCP).
The antibody test will be included with other standard tests performed on donated blood. COVID-19 antibody testing will not be done for those who are deferred or on units that were donated before Aug. 31.
“We are happy to begin antibody testing, as we hope it will help us identify potential convalescent plasma donors,” said Heidi Ognibene, the blood center’s director of operations. “We encourage individuals to schedule an appointment at one of our donor centers or a blood drive. If your antibody test comes back positive, you can help more local people by also donating convalescent plasma for someone hospitalized with COVID-19.”
An antibody test is used to determine if someone has been exposed to the virus and developed an immune response. This type of test is not a diagnostic test and will not be used to determine if someone is currently infected. Test results will be available seven to ten days after the donation. Donors with positive test results will be contacted by the blood center to determine if they can make a convalescent plasma donation.
Convalescent plasma is currently being collected from recovered patients and administered to people hospitalized with COVID-19. Donors must meet the requirements to donate blood (be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds).
Appointments are still preferred and encouraged, but walk-ins will be welcomed as long as donor centers and blood drives can comply with social distancing requirements. Schedule a donation at rrvbc.org, on the myRRVBC app or by calling 815-965-8751.
About Rock River Valley Blood Center
The Rock River Valley Blood Center is your community blood center and is the only provider of blood products and services to Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital-Rockton, Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital-Riverside, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, SwedishAmerican Hospital, SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center, SwedishAmerican Medical Center-Belvidere, Beloit Health System, Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, FHN-Freeport and Rochelle Community Hospital. The center has four convenient donor centers in Rockford, Belvidere and Freeport and the ability to support up to three mobile drives a day. The Rock River Valley Blood Center ensures that the right blood type is available at the right time for local patients whose lives may depend on it. Patients and their families rely on individuals to provide life-giving red blood cells, plasma, and platelets through blood donation.