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Blood donors can learn COVID-19 antibody status

Vitalant, the first national blood bank to test all blood donations for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is heading to Pahrump for a blood drive. All donors will receive a COVID-19 antibody test with each successful donation.

The blood drive will be held at the Pahrump Nugget from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, July 16.

Donors can schedule an appointment by visiting www.bloodhero.com and entering code PAHRUMPNUGGET or by calling Vitalant at 877-258-4825. All donors must wear a face covering when donating.

The antibody test — 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. It is possible that, over time, the broad use of antibody tests and clinical follow-up will provide the medical community with more information on whether a person who has recovered from COVID-19 is at a lower risk of infection, and if so, for how long.

“While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma in the future and help people with the disease,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant’s chief of marketing, in a press release. “Convalescent plasma can be given directly to patients currently battling COVID-19 to help boost their ability to fight their illness.”

Vitalant began collecting and distributing convalescent plasma in April. For more information, visit vitalant.org/COVIDfree

Vitalant is the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit blood collector, serving hospital patients in Las Vegas.

The nonprofit was in Pahrump last month at the Bob Ruud Community Center. That event had 60 successful donations, with 68 units of blood collected, well above the goal of 42 units.

According to the nonprofit, each unit can save up to three lives.

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