Donated blood to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Siouxlanders have an opportunity to help treat COVID-19 patients.

LifeServe Blood Center and Iowa State University have teamed up to test every unit of donated blood for COVID-19 antibodies.

The antibody testing looks for previous exposure to COVID-19, but only patients who are now healthy and symptom-free can donate at the center.

“When the need for antibody testing arose in Iowa to help push back the impact of COVID, our laboratory director and our department chair took it upon themselves to add a COVID antibody testing laboratory to the animal disease laboratory,” said David Baum, a clinical professor at Iowa State University.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is working with LifeServe Blood Center, hoping to better understand how to treat COVID-19.

“If there’s any way that we could help out the health of the community or the researchers who are looking at this virus, we would be happy to do it, and it just makes sense for us to be kind of the middle man in this situation because we’re already drawing blood,” said Claire DeRoin, the community relations coordinator of LifeServe Blood Center.

The antibody testing will be used to identify anyone who can provide convalescent plasma for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

“That works by a sample of your blood coming to Iowa State. We test it with some special machines that help to estimate how much antibody is in a drop of blood. The next thing we do is send a report to LifeServe telling them what we found and LifeServe receives two results for each type of blood. One is whether or not it’s positive. Then, the other one is a number that if a higher number, it reflects higher antibody in the blood,” Baum said.

If patients consent, the samples will be confirmed for positive antibodies and then used for COVID-19 therapy for those who are infected with the virus. The antibody testing is a nationally funded program.

DeRoin said test results will be available five to seven days after donating blood.

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