Coronavirus & the Queensland bleeding disorders community

Posted: Wednesday, 26 February 2020
There is an official statement on the Australian RedCross LifeBlood website (https://www.donateblood.com.au/page/novel-coronavirus-update) which says that no transmissions by blood have been documented or alleged for 2019-nCoV. This was and is also true for the previous coronaviruses (SARS, and MERS-CoV), and respiratory viruses in general are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion. It is also reassuring to note that the most often used plasma derived product Biostate (used in VWD and in some haemophilia A patients with inhibitors), has a manufacturing process that includes viral inactivation and removal steps which should be effective in eliminating this virus.
 
While there are a very small number of persons who are treated with fresh frozen plasma, platelet transfusions or cryoprecipitate, at this stage the routine blood donor screening measures / donor deferral measures that are already in place are adequate as they prevent individuals from donating blood if there are any respiratory symptoms or a temperature. Clearly this is an evolving situation that is being monitored closely and the Australian RedCross LifeBlood website is probably the most reliable source of updated information for the community with regard to donor deferral practices or any issues related to our blood supply.
 
The World Federation of Hemophilia has also issued a statement on the coronavirus for people who may have concerns about travel to the 2020 World Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can read WFH’s statement at; https://news.wfh.org/wfh-statement-on-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/
 
Although it may be difficult to predict the exact consequences of COVID-19, The FDA in the US say they are planning for supply shortages of materials which may impact on medical supplies from China reaching the USA. However, the factor our members use is made mostly in the USA and Europe and the NBA tell us that they hold enough stock to ensure supply into the forceable future. But general advice issued by Virology Down Under ( https://virologydownunder.com/past-time-to-tell-the-public-it-will-probably-go-pandemic-and-we-should-all-prepare-now/) for people with medical conditions is to “get ahead” on prescriptions if possible in case of supply chain disruptions, and so you won’t have to go out to the pharmacy at a time when there may be long lines of sick people.
 
HFQ holds the safety of people with bleeding disorders as its highest priority. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and will keep the community updated, but as always you should raise any concerns with your clinical team at the QHC.

For up to date information about the Coronavirus situation see
https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
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