Volunteer gets ready to draw blood from a donor.
A volunteer gets ready to draw blood from a donor. (Photo: Shalom Korn)

Anyone over the age of 18 can donate, regardless of if they have had symptoms.

Two highly successful local blood drives have expanded to a third, aimed at helping those suffering from COVID-19 and hopefully preventing the virus from affecting others. Nearly half of the 400 individuals tested in the previous drives were found to have levels of antibodies needed to donate plasma for scientific trials and treatment of those who have the virus.

At the 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, May 31, drive at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road, Southfield, two separate types of testing will take place.

Like at the first two drives, those who have had COVID-19 or have had symptoms will be tested for antibodies.

This Sunday’s drive is sponsored by TCF Bank and is organized in partnership with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the National Institutes of Health, Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim of Lakewood, N.J. and Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield.

A new component to this weekend’s drive is testing of any individual over the age of 18, whether or not they have tested positive, had symptoms or been exposed to the virus.

Blood drawn will be taken as part of the Vaccine Development/Virus Progression Study and can be used for the development and study of COVID-19 vaccines and enable further research toward more effective treatment.

Those tested for antibodies at previous drives are eligible for this blood donation.

Also new to this drive is the collaboration of the Hatzalah of Michigan-Emergency Medical Services — who organized the first two drives — with the Southfield Fire Department.

“After the second drive, Captain Melissa Medici, the department’s EMS coordinator, who volunteered as a phlebotomist at the drive, contacted us about working together,” said Nachy Soloff of Southfield, a Hatzalah volunteer and organizer of the drives. “She took it to the chief and opened it up to a wider platform beyond our more limited reach.”

Registration is encouraged by accessing the link: https://mihatzalah.org/plasma-drive/

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