COVID-19 and transfusion medicine

Background

This repository aims to support Canadian transfusion medicine health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated regularly as new information is available. In addition, the public and donors can learn more about how Canadian Blood Services is responding to COVID-19 by visiting blood.ca/covid-19.

Blood products inventory management

The National Emergency Blood Management Committee meets regularly to review the supply of blood components and products during the pandemic and make inventory advisories.

 

View all inventory advisories at blood.ca: https://www.blood.ca/en/hospital-services/customer-service/communications/inventory-advisories. 

Resources for blood product conservation practices during COVID-19

National Blood Shortage Contingency Planning During a Pandemic:  Hospital Transfusion Medicine Laboratory (TML) Checklist and Considerations” published by National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products

National Plan for Management of Shortages - Summary for Blood Banks published by Canadian Blood Services on March 20, 2020)

ONTraC Program - Patient Blood Management Resources published by Ontario Transfusion Coordinators.

Blood Conservation in the Time of COVID-19 Poster published by Choosing Wisely Canada.

Pandemic Preparedness - Blood Utilization Poster.

Choosing Wisely COVID-19 recommendations (recommendations #7 and 9 for clinicians) published by Choosing Wisely Canada.

FAQ for health professionals working with blood products

Health-care workers who handle fresh blood components from Canadian Blood Services (i.e., red blood cells, platelets, plasma) may have questions about whether accidental exposure to these products puts them at risk for COVID-19. Read our FAQ that summarizes evidence supporting the view that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not transmitted through blood and also provides links to other related guidance documents.

Hospital-based transfusion services during COVID-19

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply and use of blood for transfusion: Stanworth et al. (July 2020, The Lancet Haematology). COVID-19 has brought major implications for blood transfusion practices: uncertain demand patterns, reduced donations and loss of staff. This paper synthesizes studies that address the transfusion chain and provide guidance during times of potential or actual shortage. Dr. Mindy Goldman, Medical Director at Canadian Blood Services, is one of the study’s authors.  For more about the study, visit the R.E.D. blog.

An article by Yazer et al. (May 2020, Vox Sanguinis) surveyed 12 centres from around the world (including Canada)  about how hospital-based transfusion services have responded during COVID-19, including sample handling, pre-transfusion testing and issuing of blood products.  See Table 2 in the article for a summary of respondents’ answers.

COVID-19 Transfusion education

To find upcoming transfusion education events related to COVID-19, visit our Events page or view the list here.

Recorded webinar: Application of SARS-CoV-2 Serological Assays for Monitoring the Epidemic and Qualification of Donors and Plasma for Use as COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (Dr. Michael Busch, MD, PhD, Director, Vitalant Institute; Professor of Laboratory Medicine, UCSF). Click here to watch the webinar or download the transcript. 

Treatment of COVID-19 patients

Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG)

Currently, IVIG is not available for patients with COVID-19 and there is no evidence to suggest it would be an effective treatment. Given limited supplies of IVIG, its use to treat COVID-19 patients would rapidly deplete current stocks and limit access to other patients with diagnoses where IVIG is proven effective.

For information see “Fact Sheet on Convalescent Plasma and Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG) for Treatment of COVID-19 in Canada” published by National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products on March 31, 2020.

Convalescent plasma

Currently, Canadian patients are only able to receive therapy with COVID-19 convalescent plasma in the context of a clinical trial. Three COVID-19 convalescent plasma national clinical trials are ongoing in Canada: CONCOR-1, CONCOR-KIDS, and an arm of the REMAP CAP trial. In addition, a physician may obtain an individual patient clinical trial approval from Health Canada to treat their patient with convalescent plasma if their patient is not eligible to participate in these trials or if the physician is in a hospital that is not one of the trial sites. Well-designed clinical trials are necessary to determine if COVID-19 convalescent plasma could be a safe and efficacious treatment option for COVID-19 patients.

To learn more about Canadian Blood Services’ contributions to CONCOR-1 see below. 

  • April 16, 2020: Canadian Blood Services Chief Scientist, Dana Devine spoke with The Agenda to discuss the clinical trial.  
  • April 2, 2020: Canadian Blood Services announces that it is actively working with Health Canada and the international research community as part of a global effort to determine if convalescent plasma could effectively treat COVID-19. Canadian Blood Services will contribute by collecting and preparing plasma from fully recovered COVID-19 patients. Canadian physicians caring for patients with COVID-19 will have access to the convalescent plasma in the context of the clinical trial.
  • March 31, 2020: Watch this video interview with Dr. Dana Devine, Chief Scientist at Canadian Blood Services, where she discusses how convalescent plasma could help patients with COVID-19 disease.

 

 

Additional information