All successful blood donations to Inova Blood Donor Services in Northern Virginia are undergoing COVID-19 antibody testing.
The serology test does not look for live or active COVID-19. Instead, it determines whether a body’s immune system has reacted to having SARS-CoV-2 in the past.
The information isn’t getting stockpiled or shared anywhere.
“It’s just our initiative to do antibody testing on our volunteer blood donors, as we’ve had a lot of requests for that,” said Terri Craddock, senior director of Inova Blood Services.
Results are available about 72 hours after donations. People testing negative will be emailed results.
Donors with positive tests will be contacted personally.
“Myself or our medical director will give them a call to discuss those results, as we’re sure they’ll probably have some questions,” Craddock said. “I’m sure they’re going to ask us the strength of their antibody. And, at this point, this is just a positive-negative result; it’s just a qualitative result,” Craddock said.
Positive tests will not indicate how high a person’s antibodies levels are — just whether they’re present.
Inova provides 90% of area hospitals with blood products, and Craddock said there’s great need now for donations.
“We are critically short of Type O and B red blood cells, whole blood. This is a really difficult time for us because traditionally our high schools are back in session, and we start to ramp up our high school blood drives,” Craddock said.
About 30% of collections come from high schools.
“We’re trying to navigate that now. Where’s the blood going to come from?” Craddock said.
You can find blood drives and blood donation center locations on Inova’s website.
- Sign up for WTOP alerts
- Latest coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know
- Coronavirus resources: Get and give help in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- 4 Smithsonian museums to reopen in DC with conditions
- Report: Full return to on-site work in DC area could be a year away
- Lawmakers, advocates to unveil program to reduce Maryland health care disparities
- Alexandria mandates face masks in public spaces starting Oct. 1
- LabCorp back to supplying 10K tests per week to DC after supply-chain issues