When you donate blood in the Houston area, they will now test for COVID-19 antibodies for free

2020 KPRC Summer Blood Drive kicks off

HOUSTON – The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center announced that all donations made after June 15 will automatically be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

“The COVID-19 antibody test will show if a donor’s immune system has responded to the virus by producing antibodies,” the group wrote. “Most people who have antibodies will have had some symptoms of the disease, such as fever, cough, or trouble breathing, but some may have antibodies even though they never had symptoms.”

The antibody testing will come at no cost to donors and will be performed in addition to standard infectious disease testing that is done on all blood donations that are received, the group wrote in a press release.

The blood center is using the “Roche Diagnostics Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Test,” which they say is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use order, which means it can only be used during the coronavirus pandemic.

While this test will detect the presence of antibodies, the blood center says it is not intended to diagnose an active case of coronavirus.

“Additionally, those who test positive may be asked to come back and give convalescent plasma,” they wrote. “Antibodies present in convalescent plasma might help others fight the infection.”

If you do have coronavirus and want to donate blood to help treat others, the blood center asks that you only do so after you have fully recovered.

Visit giveblood.org for more information or contact our Donor Advocates at cs@giveblood.org or (713)791-6608.

KPRC 2 Blood Drive

Between June 11 and June 15, KPRC 2 hosted its annual blood drive with the Gulf Coast Regional Center.

During the drive, 1,391 people made successful donations and each donation can save up to three lives. As a result, the blood center says through the KPRC 2 blood drive, 4,173 lives will be saved. There were 13% more donations made during this year’s blood drive compared to 2019, the blood center said.