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Can Novel Coronavirus transmit through blood transfusion?

Can Novel Coronavirus transmit through blood transfusion?

Last Reviewed : 12/15/2020
Can Novel Coronavirus transmit through blood transfusion?

SARS-CoV-2 or Novel Coronavirus shedding is isolated from nose, throat, sputum, feces, and urine. It is transmitted by droplet, contact and rarely by airborne spread. As the number of blood camps and blood donors dropped significantly all across the country, there has been an acute shortage of blood and blood products. There is also a concern if COVID-19 can be transmitted from blood transfusion, especially when the donor is an asymptomatic carrier (an infected person without any symptoms). In this article, we will review data regarding the possibility of COVID-19 transmission through blood transfusion.

According to the study published in the journal Transfusion Medicine Reviews, viral RNA could be detected from blood of the infected people with SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2. The study also mentioned that detection of viral RNA in the blood is not equivalent to the detection of intact infectious virus. It implies that viral particles in the blood may not have the capacity to infect a healthy person. There were no cases of SARS coronavirus transmission through blood products even though SARS coronavirus RNA was detected in the blood in several cases during the outbreak in 2003.

The study revealed that SARS-CoV-2 was found in the blood in 15% of the infected patients. It is interesting to know that virus load in the blood is very low and there was no difference in the virus load between patients in the ICU and patients with mild symptoms.

As per the American Assocation of Blood Bank (AABB) website:

Individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to report that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19 to date. In addition, no cases of transfusion-transmission were ever reported for the other two coronaviruses that emerged during the past two decades (SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, and MERS-CoV, which causes Mideast Respiratory Syndrome).

In summary, COVID-19 is not transmitted through blood transfusion. However, CDC and the American Association of Blood Bank are closely monitoring the situation as the asymptomatic spread (spread of the infection by the affected people who do not have any symptoms) is more common with COVID-19 when compared to SARS and MERS coronaviruses.

 

 

References:

  1. Chang L et al. Coronavirus Disease 2019: Coronaviruses and Blood Safety. Transfus Med Rev. 2020 Feb 21. pii: S0887-7963(20)30014-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tmrv.2020.02.003.
  2. Chang L et al. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA detected in blood donations. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Jul [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2607.200839
  3. American Association of Blood Bank
  4. Chinese Society of Blood Transfusion. Recommendations on blood collection and supply during the epidemic of novel coronavirus pneumonia in China, 1st edition [in Chinese]. 2020 Feb 5 [cited 2020 Mar 18] https://www.csbt.org.cn/plus/view.php?aid=16530

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