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Vitalant providing COVID-19 antibody testing with blood donation

Vitalant said the testing is helping the organization stay afloat with blood supply through the summer.
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 8:22 AM PDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 8:54 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Vitalant will provide a free COVID-19 antibody test with a blood donation from now until the end of August. Vitalant’s Scott Edward said during the pandemic the organization has been struggling for donations. In the last few months Vitalant hasn’t been able to host half of their blood drives.

“We are still overcoming less blood drives. In September and October we will have 1,000 units less per month, because we haven’t been able to do high school and college blood drives,” said Edward.

Since the antibody testing started in June, Reno Vitalant received over 4,000 donations last month. Edward said the testing is helping the organization stay afloat with blood supply through the summer. He hopes this testing will continue to attract people to give blood.

“We probably saw 800 more people this June than last June. We had a huge response, it honestly helped us stay caught up.” He added, “It’s kind of a win-win scenario where you can help out and kind of check out your status at the same time.”

When you donate blood, donors will automatically get tested for the antibody. Edward said if you test positive for the antibody and qualify you can help a patient who’s fighting the virus by donating convalescent plasma.

Convalescent plasma is an approved emergency investigational new drug by the FDA to help treat COVID-19 patients.

Edward said Vitalant has been getting more requests from hospitals nationwide for plasma. “Doctors are beginning to transfuse convalescent plasma earlier and earlier in the treatment process.”

The result takes between 10-14 days. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.

Edward said if you test positive for the antibody and qualify you can help a patient who’s fighting the virus by donating convalescent plasma
Edward said if you test positive for the antibody and qualify you can help a patient who’s fighting the virus by donating convalescent plasma(KOLO)

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