HealthDay News – The American Red Cross will test all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies so donors can learn whether they have been exposed to the new coronavirus.

The test – authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration – may indicate if a person’s immune system has produced antibodies to the new coronavirus, even if they did not have symptoms of COVID-19. A positive test result does not confirm immunity to the virus, and the test is not meant to diagnose illness, the Red Cross said. For the next few months, blood, platelet, and plasma donations will be tested using samples obtained at the time of donation. The samples will also undergo routine screening and infectious disease testing.

Now that surgeries and treatments put on hold by the pandemic have resumed, the Red Cross said there is an urgent need for blood donations. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled as many businesses and community groups restrict the number of people at their locations.

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To ensure donor and staff safety during the pandemic, the organization has put several precautions into place. They include checking temperatures to make sure staff and donors are healthy; providing hand sanitizer; social distancing; ensuring staff and donors wear face coverings; routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment, and donor-touched areas; wearing gloves and changing them often; and using sterile collection sets and an aseptic scrub for every donation.

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