A new reassuring US study, published recently in the journal Transfusion, suggests that the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV2 through blood transfusion is highly unlikely.
For the study, the investigators reviewed the results of tests for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in nearly 18,000 pools of donated blood, representative of over 257,800 single blood donations that were collected between March and September 2020 from six U.S. metropolitan regions.
Only 3 samples were found to be positive for coronavirus and all of them had a very low viral load, resulting in the virus not being transmitted to the person receiving the blood.
“This is good news for thousands of patients who may need a blood transfusion because of surgery or a disease that causes anaemia, such as a rare blood-related condition or leukemia,” said study author Dr. Simone Glynn, Chief of the Blood Epidemiology and Clinical Therapeutics Branch at the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which conducted the study along with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Study co-author Sonia Bakkour said in a U.S. National Institutes of Health news release that “Other studies have shown that, in rare cases where a blood sample tested positive, transmission by blood transfusion has not occurred. Therefore, it appears safe to receive blood as a transfusion recipient and to keep donating blood, without fear of transmitting COVID-19, as long as current screenings are used,’’ she added.
These findings are consistent with TIF’s published information in the ‘’Blood and COVID-19’’ Guide, where the Federation explicitly stated that there are no data suggesting a risk of transmission of SARS-CoV2 through blood transfusions.
The American findings are similar to other related studies conducted in Korea, Pakistan, China, and France.