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LifeSouth, hospitals unite in antibody testing of COVID-19

MADISON – LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is pursuing partnership with local hospitals in antibody testing of recovered COVID-19 patients.

With specialized testing, LifeSouth will help to identify possible donors of convalescent plasma from COVID-19 patients.

On April 1, the FDA announced the importance of plasma donated from recovered COVID-19 patients as a critical tool to help patients that the virus has severely affected. LifeSouth moved swiftly to acquire the necessary equipment from Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and implemented a protocol to test those who have recovered from COVID-19.

The first tests were conducted on individuals in Gainesville, Fla. who thought they may have had the virus but were symptom free. One donor did test positive for the antibodies and became LifeSouth’s first convalescent plasma donor on April 16. LifeSouth delivered the donated plasma to a local hospital for a patient in need.

“As a local community blood center, we are fortunate to have the talent and resources to implement the antibody test quickly and start collecting convalescent plasma to help the patients who need it most,” LifeSouth CEO Nancy Eckert said. “This could mean life or death to those suffering. Our hospitals and the patients in the communities we serve are our highest priority.”

Since April 16, LifeSouth has collected convalescent plasma in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. These units have been transfused to critically ill patients in local hospitals that LifeSouth serves.

The test indicates if the person has been exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies against it. This test is unlike the diagnostic test for active COVID-19 infection.

LifeSouth continues to ask individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, recovered fully and are interested in donating convalescent plasma to visit lifesouth.org/covid-19.

LifeSouth’s address in Madison is 8190 Madison Blvd. Call 1-888-795-2707, Ext: 55003 or email egfranchois@lifesouth.org.

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