Veterans United Foundation donated $25,000 to the COVID-19 antibody testing program launched by the American Red Cross.

The donation from the Veterans United Foundation will go to the American Red Cross’ Central and Northern Missouri Chapter, said Erika Pryor, who serves in the role of Veterans United Foundation team lead. But because this initiative is national, funds will also support the national budget for testing.

“Beginning on June 15, the American Red Cross started testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, giving insight to donors on whether or not they had been exposed to the coronavirus,” Pryor said.

This new incentive gives more information about COVID-19 to donors as well as filling the urgent need for blood donations as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require more blood products, she said.

These blood donations also allow the Red Cross to identify potential convalescent plasma donors, who may provide “potential treatment for the critically ill and fighting back against the virus,” she said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma.

“Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies,” said one FDA public service announcement concerning blood donations. “These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease.”

“Locally, the Red Cross supplies 100% of all blood products to all Columbia hospitals, while nationally the Red Cross supplies 40% of the hospital’s blood supply,” she said.

The Red Cross would like to continue the antibody testing for an entire year.

“However, this will be contingent upon their ability to raise the necessary funds,” Pryor said. “Currently, the Red Cross is seeking to raise $12 million nationally to fully fund the first four months of antibody testing.”

“Antibody testing will be completed using samples from the time of donation that is sent to a laboratory for routine infectious disease testing,” she said.

COVID-19 antibody test results are available to the donor within seven to 10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor app or through the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • General Assignment reporter, summer 2020 Studying convergence journalism-multimedia producing Reach me at lgao@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

  • Fred Anklam manages city and county government reporters. He can be reached at anklamf@missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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