Response from NHSBT regarding Corona Virus and blood safety

Written by Aaron Dennis, February 25, 2020

We understand that our members may have concerns about blood and blood product safety and the new Corona virus (now named SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 disease). We contacted the NHS Blood and Transplant service (NHSBT) for up to date information on this matter.

They stated: NHSBT is monitoring the coronavirus situation and working with the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England, and the UK’s blood services to put in place proportionate measures where necessary. We are also working with blood agencies elsewhere in the world to share learnings and insight.  

We are well prepared to deal with new diseases and to respond to an evolving situation. JPAC (the UK Joint Professional Advisory Committee) regularly reviews and updates donor selection guidelines in response to emerging infections and NHSBT and other UK blood services are following this advice in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Donor selection guidelines have been updated. We have put in place specific donor deferral measures to ensure that potential donors are deferred from donating for a period, to ensure they are not incubating the virus after visiting any affected area. Affected areas are currently defined as China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. You can find our Donor Selection Guidelines relating to coronavirus on the following link on the Joint Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC) website:

Currently we defer donors for 21 days after return from the area, but in line with very recent guidance from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) we are extending this to 28 days (however donors from most of these countries will already be deferred for 28 days because of other tropical virus risks).

We were also sent a copy of the recent ECDC Risk Assessment. Members will be particularly interested in the statement in this document which confirms that this virus should be susceptible to the pathogen inactivation processes used in the manufacture of plasma derivatives, including plasma-derived Factor (you can find this on page 8, substances of human origin safety).

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to this, please speak with your haemophilia centre team.