The Red Cross will resume testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies.
A spokesman for the Red Cross said they plan to use plasma with high levels of antibodies to help people with a weaker immune system.
Blood from routine donations will be tested for antibody levels, and the plasma that has high levels of COVID antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma.
The Red Cross first tested donations for antibodies earlier in the pandemic, but paused when infection rates decreased and new treatments became available. The new donations will target immunocompromised patients.
“Earlier in the pandemic, convalescent plasma was being used for a wide range of patients, and now it’s very limited to people with immunosuppressive disorders or are receiving treatment for things like an organ transplant,” said Matt Trotter with the Red Cross.
With the emergence of new variants, hospitals began looking for more options.
Trotter says the Red Cross decided to bring back testing to give doctors another option.
“Now when we’re in a situation where hospitalizations have gone up again, cases spiked, we have immunocompromised patients battling COVID in hospitals that would really benefit from convalescent plasma,” Trotter said.
The Red Cross says COVID antibody test results will be available to donors one to two weeks after donation.