PLEASE NOTE: TEST RESULTS TAKE 2 WEEKS TO RECEIVE. IF YOU WAITING FOR A LETTER NOTIFICATION, PLEASE REVIEW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BELOW BEFORE CALLING.
For a limited time, Memorial Blood Centers will be testing blood donations for antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. This is not a COVID-19 test. This is a test to determine whether a donor has been exposed to the virus in the past.
With funding from the federal Operation Warp Speed initiative, Memorial Blood Centers—along with other select blood centers in the nation—will be testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies from December 14, 2020 through January 31, 2021. Donors who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may then be invited to donate a specialty blood product called convalescent plasma.
All donors who present from December 14, 2020–January 31, 2021 will receive a physical handout informing them of this antibody testing. Click here to download an electronic copy of this handout. For more information about the specific antibody test being used, view the antibody testing Fact Sheet.
Important: If you think you have an active case of COVID, please do not donate blood. The antibody test does not test for active cases of COVID, only previous exposure to the virus.
If you have additional questions, please Contact Us.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which donors receive the COVID-19 antibody testing?
Most blood donations from December 14, 2020 through January 31, 2021 will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. This includes donations made at donor centers as well as at mobile blood drives. It also includes donations of all blood products—whole blood, platelets, and plasma.
Donors making special donations (like research or reagent donations) will not have their blood tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
- What should I do if I don’t want my donation to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies?
Donors who do not wish their blood to be tested for antibodies may wait to donate until after the testing period is over on February 1, 2021.
- Why are you testing donors for COVID-19 antibodies?
Memorial Blood Centers received funding through a federal initiative called Operation Warp Speed. The goal of the program is to help identify donors who may be candidates to donate a specialty blood product called convalescent (con-vuh-less-sent) plasma. Although there is no cure for the virus, it is possible that convalescent plasma could help other COVID-19 patients with serious or life-threatening infections.
- Will a positive antibody test defer me from donating?
No. If you were exposed to the COVID-19 virus and have recovered/show no symptoms, you are not deferred from donating.
- Will test results display in my Hero Hub donor profile?
No, test results will not appear in your Hero Hub donor profile. The record of a positive or negative test will be mailed to you using the address you have on file.
- When/how will I receive my results?
You will receive the results of your COVID-19 antibody test in the mail at the address you have on file with Memorial Blood Centers. Results take at least 14 days after your donation to arrive. Please confirm your mailing address in your donor profile.
- What do I do if I have a positive result?
If the results of your COVID-19 antibody test are positive, it means at some point you were exposed to the virus and have since recovered.
It is not an indication that you currently have the virus.
A positive test does not mean you are immune from the COVID-19 virus.
It is possible some people are exposed to the virus and never show symptoms.
If the test shows you are positive for COVID-19 antibodies, you may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma. Although there is no cure for the COVID-19 virus, it is possible that convalescent plasma could help other COVID-19 patients with serious or life-threatening infections.
Since exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and/or the presence of antibodies, does not guarantee immunity against further infection of the virus, it is critical to continue to wear a mask when in close contact with those outside your household, practice good hand hygiene, and maintain safe social distancing.
- What do I do if I have a negative result?
If you test negative for COVID-19 antibodies, it is possible (though not guaranteed) you have not been exposed to the virus. Continue to wear a mask when in close contact with those outside your household, practice good hand hygiene, and maintain safe social distancing.
- Will my health information/data be sold or shared with any other organizations?
No. As with donating blood, the results of your COVID-19 antibody test are protected in multiple ways that prevent your health data from becoming compromised. Memorial Blood Centers is following state and federal requirements for COVID test reporting and privacy.
- If I’ve been exposed to the virus, will I have antibodies forever?
No. It may take the body 1-3 weeks to develop antibodies after exposure to the virus. Plus, the level of antibodies differs from person to person, and in some cases can decline with time.
- If I test positive for antibodies, am I immune to COVID-19?
No. There is no proof of immunity after exposure to COVID-19, and some people have been known to contract the virus more than once. You should continue to wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, and maintain safe social distancing.
- If I test positive, but was not aware I ever had the COVID-19 virus, should I see my doctor?
If you do not currently have any symptoms of the virus, it is likely you do not need to see your doctor. However, based on other factors of your medical history, as well as your symptoms, possible exposures, and geographic location of places you have recently traveled, you may wish to work with your healthcare provider to conduct further testing and/or develop a plan of care.
- Should I report a positive antibody test to contact tracers?
No, you do not need to report your positive antibody test to contact tracers.
- Is this test specific to the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus?
Yes. Though some tests can only detect exposure to any coronavirus (like the common cold or the seasonal flu), this test is specific to the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19.
- How accurate is the test?
It is possible this test will give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative) or a positive result that is incorrect (false positive).
A negative test does not necessarily mean you were not exposed to the virus. It can take 1-3 weeks after infection for the body to make antibodies. Additionally, it is not known how long antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will remain present in the body after infection.
A positive test does not mean you are immune from contracting the COVID-19 virus in the future.
- Is this test FDA-approved or cleared?
This test was given Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. Memorial Blood Centers is employing the test using federal Operation Warp Speed funding.
- Where can I go to learn more about the test?
Click here for a PDF with more information about the specific antibody test used by Memorial Blood Centers.
- If my test is positive, and I want to donate convalescent plasma, what are my next steps?
If you know you previously had the virus and are now recovered, and you’re interested in donating convalescent plasma, visit MBC.ORG/cpdonor to begin the process to sign up to donate this specialty blood product.
If you are eligible to become a convalescent plasma donor, you may also be contacted by an Memorial Blood Centers' staff member.
- Does testing positive for antibodies mean I’m eligible to donate convalescent plasma?
Not necessarily. We use a number of factors to determine eligibility to donate convalescent plasma. If you receive a positive test for COVID-19 antibodies and are interested in becoming a convalescent plasma donor, you can visit MBC.ORG/cpdonor to begin the eligibility screening. You may also be contacted by an Memorial Blood Centers staff member if you are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.
- What is the waiting period/deferral to be able to donate convalescent plasma?
Once you have enrolled to become a convalescent plasma donor, the waiting period is 7 days after your most recent donation.
- I’m already a donor. If my test is positive, should I switch to donating convalescent plasma?
As with all blood donations, you will need to meet eligibility requirements.
If you are eligible to donate convalescent plasma, you may be contacted by a Memorial Blood Centers staff member. At that time, please ask whether your gift of time and blood would be most impactful through a convalescent plasma donation, or through your typical specialty donation.
Female donors may need to schedule an appointment to provide a blood sample for additional testing prior to making a convalescent plasma donation. This extra step is to eliminate the risk of TRALI (Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury)—a rare by serious complication for plasma recipients.
- How can I begin the process of becoming a convalescent plasma donor?