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LifeSouth tests all blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies

As the coronavirus pandemic has worn on, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers has continued to encourage blood donation to maintain the supply needed by local hospitals. As medical professionals continue to try to learn more about the coronavirus, Lifesouth has announced it will now begin testing all eligible blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies.

The antibody test conducted by LifeSouth is authorized for use by the FDA and detects if someone has developed antibodies to COVID-19. A positive test result could indicate past exposure and some immunity to the virus.

This antibody test, according to LifeSouth, is not a diagnostic test and will not determine if the person currently has the virus.

LifeSouth encourages donors to make an appointment to donate over the coming weeks.

Plasma donated from recovered COVID-19 patients, or those who had the virus but were asymptomatic, can be a critical tool to help those patients severely affected by the virus. LifeSouth has been testing potential convalescent plasma donors for COVID-19 antibodies since April and hopes by testing all blood donors, more people will be willing to donate.

Since the first convalescent donation in April, LifeSouth has collected convalescent plasma from donors across Florida, Georgia and Alabama. These units have been transfused to critically ill patients in local hospitals served by the community blood center.

LifeSouth reports a critical need for all blood types and assures it is safe to give blood. All donor centers and bloodmobiles are enforcing social distancing between donors and implementing heightened sanitation protocols.

LifeSouth’s donor centers in North Alabama are located in Madison, Huntsville, Albertville, Decatur, Cullman and Florence. LifeSouth’s bloodmobiles will also be out at many locations in the coming weeks – including in Franklin County May 25 at Foodland, 14001 Highway 43, Russellville, and June 9 at Bank Independent, 13566 Highway 43, Russellville.

Donors must be at least 17, or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also required.

For additional information, call LifeSouth toll-free at 888-795-2707 or visit www.lifesouth.org.

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