OBI reports positivity rates of COVID-19 antibody tests

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Blood Institute is now reporting percentage rates on its COVID-19 antibody tests.

Right now, the OBI offers a free antibody test to those who donate blood.

Around three days after donating blood with OBI, Oklahomans can find out online if they have COVID-19 antibodies.

“We have a large number who we surprise them with the news and then we try to recruit them as donors for convalescent plasma,” said Dr. John Armitage, CEO of OBI.

He says a new platform allows them to sample about 6,000 donors per week for antibodies.
The number of donors who have them is going up.

“It started in the low 2% sort of range and now it’s consistently for the last few weeks above 6%,” Armitage said.

OBI is also in an epidemiological trial with OU Medicine, surveying COVID-19 antibodies in healthcare workers statewide. That number is higher at around 7%.

“That’s all healthcare workers, it’s not just frontline workers,” Armitage said. “It’s folks who might work in the cafeteria at the hospital or work in an office setting in the hospital.”

Just last week, OBI sent out its second-highest amount of convalescent plasma for hospitals to use to treat COVID-19 patients.

The antibody tests are contributing to that number.

“The good news is that when we tell them that they know they’ve gotten over their first case of it. Hopefully, their only every case of it, depending on what the immunology is on it and then they can help in this really important way,” said Amitage.

OBI has a strong need for all blood donations right now.

Typically, the start of school leads to more blood drives but virtual learning and social distancing have had a big impact. 

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