For a limited time, the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center will test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 - the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We are providing this as a one-time test, offered at the time of your blood or platelet donation. This additional health benefit can help to determine if you were previously exposed to the coronavirus.
Please note the following:
What are antibodies?
Antibodies are proteins that help fight infections. They are part of your immune response to infections. Antibodies are NOT the virus itself. This is why antibody testing cannot be used to diagnose current coronavirus infection.
What is the COVID-19 antibody test?
The COVID-19 antibody test will screen for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. The test will detect circulating antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, regardless of whether you have had COVID-19 symptoms in the past. This test DOES NOT test for the presence of COVID-19 disease or check for the presence of active COVID-19 infection. To tell if someone has an active infection, a nose or throat swab is required to test for viral nucleic acid. These tests are administered for free throughout LA county or they can be arranged with your doctor if you have symptoms.
How and when will I learn about my COVID-19 antibody test result?
Confidential test results (“positive” or “negative”) will be made available approximately two to three weeks after your donation. The test results will be emailed using our secure UCLA email server.
Will I receive COVID-19 antibody test results if I do not complete my collection?
No, you must successfully complete your blood or platelet donation to receive test results. The COVID-19 antibody test is a part of a full panel of tests performed on all donations. Testing is not performed for incomplete donations.
What does it mean if I test positive for COVID-19 antibodies?
If you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, you have circulating antibodies from prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus, or possibly, a related coronavirus. You may or may not have experienced symptoms from your infection. False positive results may occur due to cross-reactivity from pre-existing antibodies or other possible causes. It is uncertain if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. However, you may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma to help patients who are currently sick with COVID-19.
What does it mean if I test negative for COVID-19 antibodies?
A negative test result means the antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were not detected in your blood. This may be because you were not infected by SARS-CoV-2 in the past. There is also a small chance you were infected by SARS-CoV-2 but did not produce antibodies, or the test produced incorrect false-negative results. It does not necessarily mean that you do not have enough antibodies to protect yourself against the virus in the future, but it does mean that you either do not have enough antibodies for our test to detect or have no antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.