The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on blood supplies and transfusion services in Eastern Mediterranean Region



Al-Riyami AZ, Abdella YE, Badawi MA, Panchatcharam SM, Ghaleb Y, Maghsudlu M, Satti M, Lahjouji K, Merenkov Z, Adwan A, Feghali R, Gebril N, Hejress S, Hmida S, AlHumaidan H, Jamal D, Najjar O, Raouf M.


Transfus Clin Biol. 2021 Feb;28(1):16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.tracli.2020.11.002. Epub 2020 Dec 1.


BACKGROUND: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spurred a global health crisis. The safety and supply of blood during this pandemic has been a concern of blood banks and transfusion services as it is expected to adversely affect blood system activities. We aim to assess the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) during the first months of the pandemic. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A survey was designed to address blood supply, transfusion demand, and donor management during the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. Medical directors of different blood banks were invited to participate. RESULTS: A total of 16 centers participated with representation from 15/19 countries in the region. In total, 75% were from national blood banks. Most centres had a decrease in the blood supply, ranging from 26-50%. Representatives from 14 countries (93.3%) believed that public fear has contributed to a decrease in donations. Most centres (n=12, 75%) had a reduction in transfusion demand, while those who did not, reported heavy involvement in treating patients with underlying haemoglobinopathies and haematological malignancies. Half of the centres activated their contingency plans. Four centres had to alter the blood donor eligibility criteria to meet demands. All centres implemented donor deferral criteria in relation to SARS-CoV-2, but were variable in measures to mitigate the risk of donor and staff exposure. CONCLUSION: Blood services in the region faced variable degrees of blood shortages. We summarize lessons learnt during this pandemic for the blood banks to consider to plan, assess, and respond proportionately to future similar pandemics. CI – Copyright © 2020 Société française de transfusion sanguine (SFTS). Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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Link/DOI: 10.1016/j.tracli.2020.11.002