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New expanded COVID-19 antibody testing offered to Arkansas blood donors

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KATV News
The Arkansas Blood Institute is offering expanded COVID-19 antibody testing for blood donors through Jan. 31.

The Arkansas Blood Institute is offering expanded COVID-19 antibody testing that can tell blood donors additional information about their immunity status that is not offered with standard tests.

The free testing, which began Monday and will continue through Jan. 31, checks immunity status for the disease, even if the antibodies came from a vaccine or booster shot. Previously, the tests were limited to those who received antibodies from a prior natural infection.

The expanded testing comes as Arkansas is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the Department of Health reported the number of active cases increased by 585 to 27,162, a number not seen in nearly a year. 25 additional deaths were also reported, while hospitalizations rose by 39 people statewide.

The nonprofit institute said in a press release that the benefits of the test include evaluating a blood donor’s individual risk for reinfection of the virus and the risk of transmitting the disease.

“Offering this important knowledge to our donors is just one more way we are proud to positively impact public health,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of the Arkansas Blood Institute.

“COVID will continue to be a major concern through 2022 and, in fact, over the next several years. We are committed to providing donors valuable information about their health from blood samples we routinely collect, including immune responsiveness to COVID and metabolic function from total cholesterol screenings,” Armitage said.

The tests are completed in the institute’s labs, the press release said. Results can be beneficial in an individual’s decisions about timing a booster vaccine and attending in-person gatherings.

Appointments to give blood and receive the new antibody testing can be scheduled online at arkbi.org or by calling 1-877-340-8777.

Remington Miller is a reporter/anchor for KUAR News. She was previously an intern at the station as part of the George C. Douthit Endowed Scholarship program. Miller is a student at UA Little Rock and studies Journalism and English. She is to graduate in May 2022.