European blood supplies squeezed by coronavirus crisis

In the UK, however, blood donations were 15 percent lower than expected in mid-March. As a result, the service had to reassure donors that it implements additional security measures.

In Bulgaria, the Ministry of Health said it was “alarmed by the significant drop” in blood donors. And then in Italy a decrease in blood donations in some regions in early March, The Italians were asked not to forget that the patients still needed transfusions.

Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn took to twitter to remind people that 3,000 blood donations were needed in the country every week. “The availability of this blood for transfusion is critical to the daily treatment of patients in our hospitals,” he said.

The American Red Cross has warned of this in the United States faces a “severe lack of blood” and that the deficiency could affect patients in need of blood. In Europe, however, the decline in donations has not yet affected patients.

So far, there have been no reports of disorders in the supply of blood or blood components, said Catherine Hartmann, managing director of the European Blood Alliance.

“Donations have declined, but hospital demand has also declined sharply because hospitals are postponing elective surgery,” said Hartmann. “Basically, everything that can be moved is currently being postponed in most countries.”

Another factor plays a role here – altruism. The corona virus may have haunted the world and killed tens of thousands, but it has also seen selfless acts, like the hundreds of thousands of Britons who volunteered to help their communities.

Urgent calls for blood donations are no exception. In Bulgaria was requested by the Ministry of Health There were over 500 donations in just three days.

In Italy the request from the authorities was met an “impressive” influx of donors. Most astonishingly, regions that have brought the virus to their knees have seen a large number of donors, with Lombardia, severely affected, responding so well that 110 bags of blood could be delivered to other areas.

But with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, some experts say, many more potential donors will be forced to isolate themselves. And, as Hartmann emphasizes, regular donors are often older and therefore more susceptible to the virus, which causes them to stay at home instead of venturing to a hospital to donate.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control is also affected. In his latest instructionsIt warns that, due to the nature of the corona virus and its widespread use and previous experience with SARS and MERS, the virus could pose a “significant risk” for maintaining an adequate and sustainable supply of substances such as blood and organs.

“Blood supply is particularly vulnerable because frequent blood donations are required daily, and labile blood components have a limited storage period and are generally irreplaceable,” said the ECDC.

Operations cannot be postponed forever, Hartmann said. Hartmann looked at the longer term and said that she could currently “not predict anything”.

“It will largely depend on how long the crisis lasts,” she added.

This article is part of POLITICOPremium insurance service: Pro Health Care. Our specialist journalists keep you up to date on pharmaceutical prices, EMA, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and more, and keep you up to date on the issues that determine the health policy agenda. E-mail [email protected] for a free trial.

Leave a Comment