WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - As the race for a COVID-19 vaccine continues some health experts are turning to antibody testing to see how the community has been impacted by the virus.
“I’ve never been that sick and coughed and had no breath whatsoever. I coughed for probably three weeks,” said Pam Gosline.
In late December, Pam Gosline found herself sicker than she had ever been before.
“I had a friend take me to the emergency room, and my oxygen level was below 90. And they ran every test that they could, ammonia, flu, you name it, they ran it and everything came back negative,” said Gosline.
Then she was sent home with a severe respiratory infection. A diagnosis she believes might have been COVID-19.
Confident that was the case, months later she went and got an antibody test that came back positive. The antibodies test was created to help learn more about this unfamiliar virus.
“You come back with a positive case you had the antibodies to fight off the COVID-19 doesn’t necessarily mean that you have COVID-19 it means you’re exposed to it. So that’s really what we’re looking for in the antibodies testing,” said Ben Schaffner, Account Consultant.
The Texas Blood Institute is doing free antibody testing along with blood donations because having the blood and plasma is going to further the research on vaccines for the coronavirus.
“We would love to get your plasma so that we can see if we can find some vaccine or do some research and end this whole COVID-19 pandemic,” said Schaffner.
Pam, armed with the knowledge that she has antibodies, has been empowered to donate plasma.
“If I hadn’t called for help that night, and a very good friend came over and take me to the doctor, I don’t know. It’s kind of scary to think about I really don’t know I was that sick,” said Gosline. “I mean, it did affect me that bad. And so I’m glad I’ve got the antibodies. I hope I still have them. And yeah, I want to give my blood so that maybe I can help somebody else.”
The blood and plasma donations can be used to monitor the spread in the community. It will also help with contact tracing, and even once a vaccine is created it will help to make sure the vaccine is efficient.