The American Red Cross Tests for COVID-19 Antibodies

Image: Andrew Slay, The West Georgian

The American Red Cross is now seeking individuals who previously tested positive for the coronavirus. The urge stems from the discovery that those who had the virus may have antibodies that could help treat those who are currently infected.

Ronnika A. McFall, External Communications Manager for the organization, briefly explains how the testing came about.

“Beginning June 15, the American Red Cross began testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies,” McFall stated. “This provided donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus.”

In the U.S., the number of individuals with COVID-19 is growing steadily, but also, there is a rising number of those with the antibodies for the virus.

“Between June 15 and Sep.12, the Red Cross tested more than 1.2 million donations from 44 states,” McFall Stated. “Of the donations we tested, approximately 2% showed positive for COVID-19 antibodies.”

To put this into simpler terms, that is 24,000 people. As more people become infected, the amount of antibodies will certainly increase. Some may wonder if testing will be different, but that is not the case.

“The Red Cross blood donation process at our blood drives and donation centers will not change,” McFall stated. “Blood, platelet, and plasma donations will be tested using samples obtained at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where the samples will undergo routine screening and infectious disease testing.”

The Red Cross encourages all donors to stay informed about their antibody results. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or online at

In the most recent years, the organization has endured extreme shortages of blood. The Red Cross encourages donors specifically with type O blood to donate as often as they can. Type O blood is given to patients more than any other blood type. Therefore, it is needed the most.

All questions and concerns can be resolved either by visiting the Red Cross website or calling the number at 1-800-733-2767. Donation appointments can be made on the website by searching your zip code and nearest blood drive. 



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