Kentucky Blood Center looking for blood donors to test for COVID-19 antibodies

Posted at 8:18 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 08:25:37-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky Blood Center is offering a way for anyone in good health to help in the fight against COVID-19 until October 3.

After taking a regular blood donation from a donor, the Kentucky Blood Center has tested an extra blood tube for COVID-19 antibodies.

"Then, if, in fact, you have those antibodies, we can bring you back in and donate simply your plasma, explained Kentucky Blood Center Vice President of External Relations Mandy Brajuha. "Which means we put you on a machine for the donation, you keep your red cells, [and] you keep your platelets. We take just that plasma which is rich with those antibodies, and we provide that to the hospitals where they will transfuse that to critically ill patients fighting the disease."

She said this limited-time offer helps multiple patients in Central Kentucky.

Brajuha said, "For people who are curious and who are out there, kind of wondering, 'Have I been exposed? Do I have the antibodies?' This is a great way for them to come in, donate blood, and save a life. But then also potential there to save further lives by coming back and donating plasma if they proved to have the antibodies."

If the words 'giving plasma' brings back bad memories, Brajuha explained this is a different way of donating.

"A lot of folks sold their plasma in college and have had that experience. We do not--so plasma that is being sold cannot be used to be transfused to humans, and so the plasma that you sold in college was being used to make pharmaceuticals, that later went to human beings," she said. "Here, what we're doing is drawing off that plasma for actual transfusion to humans in its current state."

She said the timing of this blood and plasma offer has to do with blood shortages all summer long not only in Central Kentucky but in other parts of the country. She pleaded, "We're seeing blood transfusions higher than ever before at this point as well, and so the shelves are not bare, but they're not in good shape, and we really need people to come out and roll up their sleeves right now."

Brajuha said she hopes the three or four for one offer will compel Lexingtonians and Kentuckians from surrounding areas to sign up to donate.

"You get to come in here, and with a regular blood donation, you can save up to three lives," she said. "This is just another way you can impact your community and hopefully help someone who may be severely ill with COVID-19 and needs, you know, just that little bit of hope to help turn the corner."

To sign up for your time to donate, visit the Kentucky Blood Center's website by clicking here.