MIDLAND, Texas — More people here in the Permian Basin will soon be able to see whether they have COVID-19 antibodies.
Midland Memorial Hospital will began performing the antibody test in the near future.
The test has been the talk of the world as hospitals struggle to fight COVID-19. Many hope plasma donated from those with antibodies could help patients still fighting the virus.
The protein in the test is used by your immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses.
Those who did not officially test positive for the virus will be able to see if they have had it in their system before.
The antibody test’s purpose is not just to see if you have had COVID-19 or not, it can also create a larger pool of people who will be able to donate convalescent plasma.
Vitalant, one of the blood banks Midland Memorial Hospital uses is changing who they will accept COVID-19 plasma donations from.
“The blood bank will accept patients who have had a recovery or have had a positive antibody test," said Russell Meyers, Midland Health CEO. "Even if they never had a positive COVID PCR test."
The hospital says the antibody test does one job.
“I mean they’re sort of a pass-fail test," Meyers said. "Either you have the antibodies in your system or you do not."
For Dr. William Klingensmith, a pathologist and medical laboratory director at MMH, these results mean helping more people at the hospital who have severe COVID-19 symptoms.
“It can be used with people who are suffering from COVID in the hospital," Klingensmith said. "We are going to treat them and hopefully they’ll respond because the antibodies that they receive through your plasma help fight the virus.”
The hospital and Vitalant hope more people tested means more plasma donations will come in.
“We’d love to have more donors, our area is one of the lead donors in all of Texas and New Mexico," Klingensmith said. "We’re getting more donors than anyone else and providing plasma to places like Lubbock, Odessa and beyond."
Klingensmith says the hospital takes pride helping people with COVID-19 all over Texas and beyond.
To learn more information about getting the antibody test you can call the hospital at 432-221-2911. The cost of the test depends on your insurance.
As a reminder, people can donate plasma every 8 days. The process takes 30 minutes to an hour.
Even if you do not have COVID-19 antibodies, Vitalant is always looking for more blood and plasma donations.