COVID-19 Antibody Testing

COVID-19 Antibody Testing at LifeServe Blood Center

LifeServe Blood Center is assisting in the fight against COVID-19 by helping to provide data about the spread of the virus. Tracking the percentage of our healthy population who carry the COVID-19 antibody is helpful to researchers and epidemiologists trying to understand the spread of the virus. Additionally, blood donors with the COVID-19 antibodies present in their body are eligible to become a special type of lifesaving blood donor by giving convalescent plasma. In studies across the country, convalescent plasma has been shown to be an effective treatment for critically ill COVID-19 hospital patients.

Beginning on Monday, August 3, LifeServe Blood Center will begin testing every blood donor who opts in to our program for COVID-19 antibodies.

Click here to schedule your next donation appointment!

What are antibodies?
When someone gets an infection, their body produces antibodies to fight the infection. The antibodies created are specific to what is causing the infection. When someone gets infected with the COVID-19 virus, the body will produce antibodies specific to it.

Testing at LifeServe
LifeServe Blood Center’s antibody testing is being performed by the State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa. They are using a test called SARS-CoV-2 ELISA (IgG), which is produced by EUROIMMUN.

This is not a diagnostic test that will determine if you have the COVID-19 virus. If you believe you have the active virus, please do not come to a LifeServe location.

An antibody test is looking for evidence that your body has produced antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. LifeServe Blood Center is only providing antibody test results. Donors who feel unwell should contact their primary care physician. Donors who feel unwell or who are displaying symptoms of any illness are not eligible to donate.

Where can I get tested?
Blood donors can participate in this testing at any LifeServe Blood Center mobile blood drive or donor center location. Appointments are required for all blood donations. Walk-ins will not be accepted as we are following specific COVID-19 protocols.

Can I walk-in to donate and get tested?
No. Blood donors must have an appointment to give either whole blood, platelets, double red cells, or plasma and will be tested as part of their donation.

How accurate is the COVID-19 antibody test?
A positive test means that the donor was very likely infected with the COVID-19 virus. A negative test result indicates that the donor does not have detectable antibodies in their blood at the time of donation, but that does not mean they have not previously been infected with COVID-19.

Can I opt out of this testing?
Yes. You have the ability to opt out of this test by answering NO during the pre-donation screening questionnaire. If you opt out, your blood donation will not have a COVID-19 antibody test performed.

I didn’t have a successful donation. Will I still find out my test results?
Yes, you may.  If the donation is not successful and you would like an antibody test, you must notify the LifeServe team member.  A separate venipuncture may be required to collect the test tube.   

I’m not eligible to give blood. Can you still test me?
No. Unfortunately at this time, LifeServe Blood Center is only offering antibody testing for its blood donors.

How much will this test cost?
LifeServe Blood Center is pleased to offer this test to our donors at no charge.

I gave blood before testing was available. Can you test my donation?
No. This program begins Monday, August 3, and only donations from this point forward will be tested.

MY RESULTS

 How will I know my results?
After 5-7 business days, your COVID-19 antibody test results will be posted to our secure blood donor portal on our website: www.lifeservebloodcenter.org. Every blood donor has a unique, secure online donor profile where you can access this result and other blood donation information such as blood pressure readings, pulse, hemoglobin, etc. Other results of infectious disease testing performed by LifeServe are not posted on our secure blood donor portal.   

When will my results be available?
We hope to have results in your donor portal 5-7 business days after your donation.

Where can I find my results on my profile?
Donors should visit lifeservebloodcenter.org and log into their account. Results are available under the My Test Results tab.


What if I don’t have an account yet?
Donors who have not yet created an account will need to do so by visiting: https://donor.lifeservebloodcenter.org/donor/auth/register

If creating an account for the first time, donors should note a few things: donors must use their legal names. Nicknames will not be accepted.

Donor ID numbers are available on your Donor ID card. If you have not yet received your Donor ID card, email BloodDonor@lifeservebloodcenter.org for assistance.

You will not need a Unit number. Leave that field blank.

What is my Donor ID?
Your Donor ID is included in your post donation email. You should receive that the day following your donation.

What do my results mean?
Donors who have opted in to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies will receive one of two test results: positive or negative.

POSITIVE: The donor has created antibodies against the COVID-19 virus.
NEGATIVE: The donor has not made antibodies against the COVID-19 virus.

Will LifeServe Blood Center be giving COVID-19 antibody test results to anyone besides the donor?
Yes, but only for blood donors who opt in for COVID-19 antibody testing. LifeServe Blood Center is working in partnership with the State of Iowa’s Public Health Department to understand the spread of COVID-19. Demographic information from blood donors that have positive COVID-19 antibody test results will be provided to the State of Iowa’s Public Health Department to continue their research regarding the spread of the virus.

Will I be contacted regarding my test result?
It’s likely that a donor who receives a positive COVID-19 antibody test result will be contacted by the Iowa Department of Public Health for a few follow up questions. LifeServe Blood Center specialists may also reach out to determine whether donors are interested in becoming convalescent plasma donors for critically ill hospital patients currently battling the a COVID-19 infection.

What is convalescent plasma?

Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from individuals who have recently recovered from COVID-19.  COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in their plasma that attack the virus.  Convalescent plasma is being used as an experimental treatment for patients currently battling COVID-19. Click here for more information!

I don’t live in Iowa and I didn’t give blood in Iowa. Why are my results being shared with Iowa state authorities?
Because LifeServe is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and the majority of our collections are from Iowa, we are working with the State of Iowa’s Public Health Department. All testing is being done through that partnership.

I live outside the state of Iowa. Will the Iowa Department of Public Health share my results with my state?
That’s possible. Remember: this program is not only a benefit to donors, but a great tool for public health to battle the pandemic. The sharing of the data is being used to understand the spread of the virus, not just in Iowa, but across the country.

MY COVID-19 ANTIBODIES

How long are COVID-19 antibodies present after infection?
With the limited knowledge of this virus, current research shows that the antibodies are present for a few months and then may slowly decrease. Research shows the level of antibodies will vary between people.

Does a higher COVID-19 antibody test result mean that there are more antibodies present?  
No. The COVID-19 antibody test was not designed to determine how much antibody someone has. It is only used to determine if antibodies are present or not.

Will donating blood lower my immunity or my COVID-19 antibodies?
The presence of antibodies does not mean that you have immunity to COVID-19. It only indicates that your body has developed an immune response to a prior infection.

When plasma is donated, there will be a temporary decrease in antibodies, but there will always be some left. If someone gets infected with the same virus again, the body will quickly make more antibodies to fight the infection.

Donating plasma has never been shown to cause more infections.

Does a positive COVID-19 antibody test keep a donor from giving blood?
No! In fact, donors who have been exposed to COVID-19 and have a positive antibody test are encouraged to become a special Convalescent Plasma donor. The plasma collected during this special donation is used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Can donors with COVID-19 antibodies donate convalescent plasma?
Yes! That’s a benefit of the COVID-19 antibody testing program. As long as donors met the general requirements to donate transfusable plasma, donors with the COVID-19 antibodies will be encouraged to donate convalescent plasma to help current COVID-19 patients.

Questions?

Give us a call at 800-287-4903 or email BloodDonor@lifeservebloodcenter.org for more information.

This test is authorized by the FDA for detecting the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and is not intended for diagnosis of COVID-19.

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