Free COVID-19 antibody test available with blood donation

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – There’s a critical need for blood in West Virginia and across the country. As a way of thanking donors the American Red Cross is helping them find out if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

“Often we are in that need in the summer, but this summer is even more of a challenge because we have just come back online with elective surgeries in hospitals,” Erica Mani, CEO at Red Cross WV Region, said.

The Red Cross has come up with the unique incentive to encourage people to donate. When you give blood you can get a free COVID-19 antibody test.

“If you are curious if you’ve had exposure to the virus you can give blood and your blood will be tested and you can find out within a week to 10 days if you have the antibodies,” she said.

The test is not a diagnostic test to see if you currently have COVID-19. She said if you have any symptoms you should not come to a donation drive.

The antibody testing has helped motivate more people than usual to give. Many donation drive appointments are filling up several weeks in advance.

“At this point the response has been overwhelming here and across the country. We have so many people wanting to find out if they have the antibodies that we are getting a great response to blood donation,” Mani said.

The antibody tests are available at all testing locations. Right now there isn’t a set timeline for how long the tests will be available.

You can make an appointment to donate blood here.

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