Community Blood Center announces antibody testing for potential plasma donors

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Community Blood Center has announced coronavirus antibody testing to help identify more people to be convalescent plasma donors.

Bag of blood plasma (file photo)

Convalescent plasma comes from a person who has had COVID-19. The plasma is being used for coronavirus patients who are very sick and in an intensive care unit.

"It has been reported, in a number of studies, small numbers of patients to be effective and specifically it has helped them to clear the virus more quickly so that they get rid of that viral infection more quickly and they are successfully able to be discharged from the hospital," says Dr. Jennifer Frank, ThedaCare Chief Medical Officer.

CBC announced Thursday that it now has the capability to conduct the antibody testing. The test can determine if someone has been exposed to COVID-19.

That plasma could help save the life of someone struggling to fight off the COVID-19 infection.

Kristine Belanger with The Community Blood Center says, "Now we're able to work with people who have had the symptoms of COVID-19, but didn't necessarily have the diagnostic test. So, it really opens up the opportunity for a lot more to donate convalescent plasma and help more patients."

Here's who can be tested:

--Positive COVID-19 medical test or had symptoms of COVID-19 but did not receive a formal medical test diagnosis

--No longer has symptoms of COVID-19

--Meets all blood donor eligibility criteria

The Community Blood Center antibody testing is not for the general public. It is for people who are potential convalescent plasma donors for COVID-19 patients.

The center anticipates the antibody testing will be ready by the first week of June.

For more information, call CBC at (800) 380-4102 or visit https://www.communityblood.org/donate-convalescent-plasma/

In April, the Community Blood Center announced its first donation of plasma from a recovered patient.

Some local hospitals have been treating patients with convalescent plasma. Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai talked about it during an appearance on Action 2 News This Morning.