On June 15, 2020 the American Red Cross initiated screening all allogeneic blood donations for antibodies to the SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2); this is the virus that causes COVID-19. Reactive donations will be tested by a second COVID-19 antibody test using a different genetic target to confirm reactivity. In order to see how long the antibodies are present, the Scientific Support Office (SSO) will be contacting donors who test reactive by the two assays to ask them to give follow-up samples. The follow-up samples will be tested for antibodies to COVID-19 until a negative (nonreactive) result is obtained. The initial follow-up sample will be collected about a month after the reactive index donation, and then every three months. Once negative, the donor will no longer be followed. Results of this additional testing will be provided to the donors by letter.
Additionally, these donors will receive a link to a survey that asks questions about any COVID-19 symptoms they may have experienced prior to their last reactive index donation, if they have been previously tested, their motivation for donation and knowledge about testing. This research survey, along with the testing, will help provide the American Red Cross with additional information regarding the value of coronavirus antibody testing, and the duration of the antibody response following exposure to SARS-CoV-2.