No Virus Detection in the Blood of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Patients
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in cooperation with three institutes of virology, has evaluated laboratory data of SARS-CoV-2 infected persons. No SARS-CoV-2 genome could be detected in the blood of asymptomatic patients or in patients with less pronounced symptoms. These results show that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by the blood donations of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients without symptoms is not to be expected.The results of the investigations are already available online on the preprint server medRxIV and will be published in the journal „Transfusion“ at a later point of time.
„Our results are consistent with the findings of other research groups, which indicate that virus detection in the blood of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals is associated with a severe course of disease. Such persons are excluded from donating blood. Due to the small number of cases examined in each case, it is important to examine further samples. Nevertheless, the current data situation suggests that no further risk-minimising measures are necessary with regards to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and blood donation,“ said Professor Klaus Cichutek, President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut.
Based on the experience with other coronavirus infections (SARS and MERS-CoV) and other viruses that cause respiratory infections, the risk of transfusion-related transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is currently estimated to be low. The measures defined in the haemotherapy directive are considered sufficient to prevent transfusion-related SARS-CoV infection. This directive routinely prescribes the measurement of body temperature and an infection-related survey to exclude febrile patients from blood donations. Persons willing to donate who show signs of acute infection are not permitted to donate blood.
Call for Blood Donation
Although drastic measures to reduce social contacts have been introduced throughout Germany in order to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, it is still not clear whether these measures are effective. However, blood donation is an indispensable element of healthcare. The supply of safe blood concentrates must therefore continue to be guaranteed despite the measures adopted to contain the pandemic. Hygiene measures in blood establishments will ensure that donors do not run the risk of infection.
Corman VM, Rabenau HF, Adams O, Oberle D, Funk MB, Keller-Stanislawski B, Timm J, Drosten C, Ciesek S (2020): SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatic and symptomatic patients and risk for transfusion transmission.
Transfusion (Zur Veröffentlichung in dem Journal "Transfusion" angenommen / Accepted for publication in the journal "Transfusion" ).
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.29.20039529v1 - Online Abstract
https://www.pei.de/EN/newsroom/hp-news/2020/200318-call-blood-donations-pei-rki-bzga.html - Call for blood donations, made bei PEI / RKI /BZgA