Blood Donations Safe Under Current COVID-19 Screening Guidelines

June 3, 2021 by TWN Staff

A new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues has found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, does not appear to pose a threat to the safety of the nation’s blood supply. 

The analysis, published in Transfusion, supports current donor screening guidelines, including those used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that do not require testing blood samples for the SARS-CoV-2 virus but do require that donors be screened for physical symptoms of COVID-19 and for infections that occurred within 14 days of the blood donation. The blood of donors with recent COVID-19 infections, or who develop infections after recent donations, cannot be used.

After reviewing test results for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in thousands of blood donations across the country, researchers found no reason to alter the current blood donor screening practices that are in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This finding is good news for thousands of patients who may need a blood transfusion because of surgery or a disease that causes anemia, such as a rare blood-related condition or leukemia,” said Simone Glynn, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the Blood Epidemiology and Clinical Therapeutics Branch at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which conducted the study along with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

The new analysis is based on 17,995 pools of donated blood, representative of 257,809 single blood donations collected between March and September 2020 from six U.S. metropolitan regions. Researchers concluded the likelihood of a transfusion recipient receiving blood with trace amounts of SARS-CoV-2 was approximately .001% – a little over 1 in 100,000 – and that the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by blood transfusion was insignificant compared to airborne transmission.

Highly sensitive nucleic acid amplification tests, which have been documented to be 99.96% effective at detecting genetic components of the virus in blood, were used to screen blood donations. Of the thousands of samples tested, just three came back positive, all with very low concentrations of the virus.

The conclusion that SARS-CoV-2 does not threaten the safety of the nation’s blood supply under current guidelines mirrors results of similar studies conducted in Korea, Pakistan, China, and France. Those studies found that among the rare cases in which SARS-CoV-2 was detected in a blood donation, it contained a low viral load and did not result in transmission of COVID-19.The study was conducted by the NHLBI Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study Program. The NHLBI REDS Program conducts research to evaluate and improve the safety and availability of the nation’s blood supply, as well as the safety and effectiveness of blood transfusion therapies.

In The News

Health

Voting

Research

Library of Congress Acquires Digital Archive of Frontline Workers
Research
Library of Congress Acquires Digital Archive of Frontline Workers
June 10, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The Library of Congress has acquired a digital archive of the real-time impressions of more than 200 frontline health care workers documenting the country in crisis during the coronavirus pandemic. The audio diaries from health care workers were collected by The Nocturnists, a medical storytelling... Read More

FDA Approves Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug Despite Potential Harm
Health
FDA Approves Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug Despite Potential Harm
June 7, 2021
by Reece Nations

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted its approval to aducanumab, an Alzheimer’s treatment developed by Biogen for use in patients, despite mixed clinical trial results for the drug.  Prescribed under the brand name “Aduhelm,” the treatment is given intravenously and... Read More

Researchers: More Voices Needed to Shape Future of Work
In The News
Researchers: More Voices Needed to Shape Future of Work
June 7, 2021
by Dan McCue

A quartet of researchers in the United Kingdom say while the COVID-19 pandemic forced employers and employees alike into a “mass experiment” of workplace adjustments, the real work on what the future of work will look like is only just beginning. The researchers are Oliver Mallett,... Read More

Harvard Researchers Recommend Census Not Use Privacy Tool
In The News
Harvard Researchers Recommend Census Not Use Privacy Tool

A group of Harvard researchers has come out against the U.S. Census Bureau's use of a controversial method to protect privacy with the numbers used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, saying it doesn't produce data good enough for redistricting. The Harvard researchers said in a... Read More

Study: Healthy Diet Before and During Pregnancy Linked to Lower Risk of Complications
Health
Study: Healthy Diet Before and During Pregnancy Linked to Lower Risk of Complications
June 3, 2021
by TWN Staff

A healthy diet around the time of conception through the second trimester may reduce the risk of several common pregnancy complications, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health. Expectant women in the study who scored high on any of three measures of... Read More

Blood Donations Safe Under Current COVID-19 Screening Guidelines
Research
Blood Donations Safe Under Current COVID-19 Screening Guidelines
June 3, 2021
by TWN Staff

A new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues has found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, does not appear to pose a threat to the safety of the nation’s blood supply.  The analysis, published in Transfusion, supports current donor... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top