Blood Donations Being Tested for SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies

From now through the end of July, San Diego Blood Bank is testing all blood donations for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The test is being performed as part of our regular testing panel to identity whether donations are acceptable for COVID-19 convalescent plasma.  

Appointments are required for all blood donations.  

The antibody test detects if your immune system has developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is NOT a diagnostic test. It will not detect active COVID-19 infections or recent exposure.   

Please read all COVID-19 blood donation restrictions and protocols prior to making an appointment. ​ 

  1. If you have had COVID-19 symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, do not attempt to donate until you have been symptom free for 28 days.
  2. Do not attempt to donate if you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 for 28 days from the last contact. This includes healthcare workers in close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.

Your antibodies may help patients fighting COVID-19. Donors who are tested and found positive (reactive) for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies will be able to donate investigational COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) the next time they donate. CCP is being used in clinical trials to treat COVID-19 patients in critical condition. 

The test is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use. Per state law, all positive (reactive) and negative (non-reactive) test results will be reported to the California Department of Public Health.  

Donors will receive results in their SDBB wellness portal 7-10 days after donation. The results are used by the San Diego Blood Bank to qualify potential investigational CCP donations. 

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health. To make an appointment, please visit or call (619) 400-8251.   


What test is San Diego Blood Bank using to test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies?   
San Diego Blood Bank is using the FDA-authorized Ortho Clinical Diagnostics VITROS® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total test. The antibody test detects if your immune system has developed sufficient levels of antibodies to the virus thought to be useful as a therapeutic.   

Will the antibody test tell me if I currently have COVID-19?  
No, antibodies take time to form and are unlikely to show up on the antibody test during an active infection. People with active or recent symptoms should consult their physician or take advantage of a free testing site for a test that involves a nose or throat swab.     

Will the antibody test tell me if I have recently been exposed to COVID-19?  
No, the test is unlikely to detect recent exposure. Please consult your doctor if you believe you have been exposed. It is important that you self-isolate for at least 14 days following an exposure. Do not make an appointment to donate blood until 28 days from the last date of exposure. 

Do I need to donate blood to receive the test?  
Yes, this test is only available when you have a successful blood donation. The antibody test is being added to our standard testing procedures and only successful donations are sent to our laboratory to be tested. If you know you will not qualify to donate blood, there are other antibody testing options available for the general public, including San Diego Blood Bank’s antibody testing partner Genalyte. Please check with your healthcare provider to see if the test meets medically necessary requirements for coverage. 

If I test positive (reactive), does this mean I’m immune to COVID-19?  
It is not yet known if the presence of antibodies provides immunity from future infections. It is also not known how long SARS-CoV-2 antibodies stay in the system after an infection. Public health precautions should continue to be taken to prevent new exposures.

Does a negative (non-reactive) result mean I have never been exposed to COVID-19?  
Not necessarily. The FDA-authorized Ortho Clinical Diagnostics VITROS® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total test is a qualitative test that measures the presence of antibodies in your system. If your antibody levels are low, your test result will likely be reported as negative (non-reactive). It is also unknown how long antibodies persist in a person’s system after infection.   

If I have been diagnosed with having COVID-19 or test positive (reactive) for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, can I donate convalescent plasma?   
Yes, as long as you meet all of the normal blood donation requirements and have been symptom free for 28 days (or 14 days with a follow up negative PCR test). You will need to wait 8 weeks from the date of a whole blood donation to donate plasma. Visit to get started or view our COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) FAQs.   

How do I receive my results?   
Your results will be available in your wellness portal at 7-10 days after your blood donation. Donors can create an account with a valid email address.   

What do my test results mean? See Fact Sheet For Recipients 

A positive (reactive) result means you were likely exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and your body developed an immune response to the virus in the form of antibodies. It is not yet known if the presence of antibodies provides immunity from future infections. Public health precautions should continue to be taken to prevent new exposures.  

A negative (non-reactive) result means you most likely have not been exposed to COVID-19. However, you may have an antibody titer level not detected by this test or previous antibodies may have diminished over time.   

Can I opt out of antibody testing?  
No, the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics VITROS® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total test is being performed in conjunction with other measures to qualify potential CCP donors and is included in our regular testing panel of each blood donation with our laboratory partner.   

Can I receive a test from a past donation?  
No, the test is only being performed on current donations as part of a routine panel used by our laboratory to screen each blood donation prior to its release to local hospitals.  

Will my test results be reported to anyone besides me?  
San Diego Blood Bank will report both positive (reactive) and negative (non-reactive) test results to the California Department of Public Health. Reporting helps us understand the prevalence and epidemiology of the virus in various communities.  

If I have questions or concerns about my results, who can I contact?  
The Ortho Clinical Diagnostics VITROS® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total test is not a diagnostic test. Please contact your physician for any health-related questions. If you test positive (reactive) and are interested in donating convalescent plasma (CCP), please visit