U.S. blood donations are safe under current COVID-19 screening guidelines

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.

β€œThis 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 (NHLBI), which conducted the study along with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022