Local 12: Research says it's still safe to receive blood during pandemic

UC Hoxworth chief medical officer says all blood donor types are needed

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 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. 

David Oh, MD, chief medial officer of UC Hoxworth Medical Center standing in a Hoxworth lab

David Oh, MD, chief medial officer of UC Hoxworth Medical Center/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

In a story on this study, WKRC-TV/Local 12, turned to David Oh, MD, chief medical officer of UC Hoxworth Blood Center for reaction. The TV station reported that It’s encouraging news for those who say blood donations right now are critically down after this long pandemic year. Right now, if people are able to donate, all types are welcome.

"Right now, we need people to donate blood products that we always ask them to come out and donate. So O donors—we really want them to come and donate red blood cells,” said Oh. “Type A and AB donors—we really want them to come out and donate platelets."

Those blood products support those who need everything from cancer treatments to transfusions. Researchers examined more than 250,000 blood donations from March to September 2020. COVID-19 was detected in just a few of the samples, even when the viral load was extremely low.

The good news is that the vaccines have also made a difference in what’s needed for blood products.

“This is the first time I’m coming out to talk and not try to get people to donate convalescent plasma because we’ve done so well with people vaccinated now and the demand for that is so low,” added Dr. Oh.

See the entire story here

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