Want to know if you had COVID-19? OneBlood will test all donated blood for antibodies

Are you curious about whether you ever had the coronavirus and just never knew it?  Donate blood and you could find out.

OneBlood was one of the first blood labs to accept convalescent plasma donations in the fight against COVID-19.  Now, the lab will test all donated blood to see if COVID-19 antibodies are present in each donation.

"So, if you are wondering if you have developed the antibody to the virus, all you have to do is donate with OneBlood and we will tell you," said Susan Forbes, of OneBlood.

Anyone who donates blood will be tested. Once the blood is collected, lab specialists mix it with the COVID-19 antigen and then expose it to a light source to determine whether it has antibodies.

"The instrument captures that light count to determine how strong that antibody, or how much of that antibody is present within that testing unit," said Creative Testing Solutions lab director Ben Reynolds.

The testing not only tells you if you, at one time, had the virus.  It also tells you if you have those antibodies, your plasma could save a life. 

"It is also going to help identify additional people who could be COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors," Forbes said.

That plasma is critical in fighting coronavirus.

"By transfusing plasma that is rich with the coronavirus antibodies into patients still fighting the virus, it can help boost the patient's immune system and potentially help them recover." 

Donors will be able to see their results online 48 hours later and can then potentially start the process of helping others recover.