News & Politics

Donate Blood, Get a Free Covid-19 Antibody Test

Amid an “urgent need” for blood donations, the American Red Cross has announced a new initiative.

Beginning this week, anyone who donates blood to the American Red Cross won’t just be doing a good deed. They’ll also be able to find out if they’ve been exposed to Covid-19.

That’s because the American Red Cross announced June 15 that they are now running Covid-19 antibody tests on all blood, platelet, and plasma they receive via donations. Through an initiative that will take place over the next few months, samples of the donated blood will be sent to an outside laboratory for FDA-authorized Covid-19 antibody testing. Donors should expect to receive the results within 7 to 10 days.

“As a humanitarian organization and member of the broader health community, the Red Cross has adapted our services to help meet the needs of this extraordinary time,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a press release announcing the initiative. “We recognize that individuals and public health organizations desire more information about COVID-19, and as an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is fortunate to be able to help during this pandemic.”

On account of the ongoing demand for blood at hospitals, as well as the cancellation of recent blood drives, there is currently an “urgent need” for blood donations, the Red Cross said in the press release.

In order to accommodate donations while adhering to social-distance protocols, the Red Cross is asking donors to schedule appointments in advance via their website,, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.