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Free coronavirus anti-body testing for those who donate blood

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BATON ROUGE - The coronavirus has taken a toll on the local blood supply by drastically reducing donations.

"We've seen a big drop in the number of blood donors," Benjamin Prijatel, Senior Director at LifeShare Blood Center in Baton Rouge said.

"We've used 80% of our inventory and it's been going down every day," says Prijatel.

To increase donations, LifeShare will start offering free coronavirus anti-body testing for those who give blood.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you can actually still donate. 

"In fact, it makes you a better blood donor," Prijatel said.

The blood center director explains that if you have coronavirus anti-bodies, you may have developed an immunity to the virus and your blood could be used to help others suffering from COVID-19.

So, if you've fought off the virus you are just the type of donor LifeShare is looking for.

"We might be reaching out to you in the next several weeks to come back and donate convalescent plasma, because it's those products that are helping save lives in our local hospitals in Baton Rouge." Prijatel said.

The free anti-body testing offering will happen for only 2 weeks, and will be available at the LifeShare's mobile donation sites starting Monday morning. 

Locals can also donate blood and undergo antibody testing at Vitalant, which is located at 8234 One Calais (service road at I-10 & Essen) in Baton Rouge. 

On Monday, the company announced that it is the first national blood bank to test all blood donations for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

These antibody tests—authorized by the Food and Drug Administration—will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms.

Click here for more information on antibody testing. 

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