AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Coffee Memorial Blood Center announced new testing capabilities to measure donors’ immune response. From Jan. 3 through Jan. 31, the Blood Center will offer a new antibody testing method.

Coffee Memorial said the new testing will give donors a broader understanding of their immune response, regardless of whether they have antibodies generated through natural infections or vaccines and boosters.

The test is performed by collecting a vial of blood during the donation process and the testing is conducted at Coffee Memorial in their internal lab and test results are available on the donor portal just like cholesterol and blood pressure results.

Executive Director of Coffee Memorial Blood Center Brad Duggan said it won’t tell you how strong the antibodies are, but if you have them.

“Offering this important knowledge to our donors is just one more way we are proud to positively impact public health,” said Dr. John Armitage, Coffee Memorial Blood Center president and CEO. “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. We are fortunate to offer these services through our own labs, without the need to outsource testing.”

The Blood Center explained that the understanding of the virus is advancing and that it is important to know if a person has detectable immunity to the coronavirus in order to benefit their health decisions in the future, such as assessing their risk of reinfection or transmission. Additionally, they said someone’s awareness of their immune response can help them make informed decisions when timing booster vaccines, attending large gatherings, or gathering with family and friends.

“The good thing about it is, say you had a family member that is immunocompromised or sick and knowing that you have antibodies, you might be a little more, you might feel a little more secure in having some protection from the virus and also it would be good to know where you’re at,” said Duggan.

Duggan added that it can identify antibodies from the omicron variant

“This testing will also, it is also able to detect even if you have had the omicron variant of the vaccine, or of the antibodies. but it won’t tell you which one it is. but it is able to identify that though,” said Duggan.

Coffee Memorial also highlighted that during previous phases of the pandemic it has performed antibody testing of hundreds of thousands of donors.

The Blood Center said all donors can receive this test, for free, although 16 and 17-year-olds must have parental permission and donors can opt-out of the test, if they wish.

Coffee Memorial added that those who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies can still donate blood, as long as they are in good health and it has been at least 14 days since the last of their COVID-19 symptoms resolved.

Those interested in donating can make an appointment here or call them at 806-331-8833.

To learn more about Coffee Memorial, click here.