COVID-19 and Blood Establishments
Sharing information and best practice
EBA is closely monitoring the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in the European Union, through information both from European authorities and from its members. The EBA Emerging Infectious Disease Monitor (EID M) group and the Contingency Planning working group are coordinating regular teleconferences for all members and collected information on measures put in place at national or regional levels through a survey. The results were shared with all EBA blood establishments through emails. This survey and results will be updated following the evolution of the pandemic.
If you are an EBA member and have not received an invitation to the teleconferences, please contact info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
EBA and EBA members express their deep sympathy and support to patients affected by COVID-19; they do their utmost to ensure continuity of service for all individuals needing blood and blood components, and deliver the best quality products to hospitals.
EBA warmly thanks blood donors for their ongoing generous donation, under the present circumstances.
Update 25 April 2020
The European Commission launches a European database on COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) in collaboration with EBA.
The EU CCP Database is an open-access database, hosted by the European Commission and developed in collaboration with the European Blood Alliance, that compiles data on COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations and patient outcomes following transfusions.
The EU CCP Database is composed of three parts that can be accessed through separate links. The first part comprises information on the participating BEs and their working protocols, the second part comprises information on the CCP donations, and the third part comprises information on the clinical outcome in recipients. The third part of the database is currently still under construction and is not yet open for data submission.
BEs should send an email to info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu to indicate their interest in participation. They will then receive an email with a link and an access code to the registration form for BEs, and a link and a password that allows them to enter data on the CCP donation.
You do not need to be a member of EBA to participate in the programme. To register, however, you should send a request to them info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
If you would like to participate in the study of convalescent plasma, please contact your local or national blood establishment. Your blood establishment will also ask you for data on transfusion and clinical outcome. They will take care of entering them into the registry.
Update 8 April 2020
The European Blood Alliance is committed to actively participate to treatment research and trials for patients living with COVID-19. The association collects, monitors and shares all information provided by its Blood Establishments members on treatments initiatives and in particular on Convalescent Plasma (CCP).
EBA and its members are supported in their CCP initiatives by the the European Commission DG SANTE and DG DIGIT who provide guidance and who collect Blood Establishments recommendations for future work on CCP.
In particular, the EBA, DG DIGIT and DG SANTE (SoHO unit) are developing an open database, platform hosted by the Commission, with data inserted directly by blood establishments and clinicians.
The objectives are to facilitate and enhance immediate data reporting, knowledge sharing and between as well as to ensuring immediate availability of information on donor selection, plasma collection processes, donor adverse events, plasma characteristics and availability, clinical use – clinical trials / Managed access (“compassionate use”), recipient adverse events and the clinical results.
Blood Establishments will have the capacity to directly input their data on plasma collection into this database and to see other’s data (anonymised and GDPR compliant).
Blood Services that wish to participate in the EU donation and outcome monitoring programme should contact EBA by the 20th of April, info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
More on DG SANTE’s website
Update 28 March 2020
European Blood Establishments have all adapted their process and operations in view of the COVID-10 pandemic to ensure the best security measures for donors, blood products, their personnel and patients.
They have implemented physical distance in donation centres, both between donors and donors and staff, several are requesting donors to make an appointment for their donation, to avoid lines in the donation centres, personnel often wear masks and are donors thoroughly questioned about their health (and often, travel history) to avoid any risk of contamination. Blood establishments staff are also re-organising their schedule and shifts to ensure that one person who may get ill does not transmit the disease to his/her colleagues.
Donating blood is safe, there is no evidence that the Sars-CoV-2 virus may be transmitted through blood and patients on treatment based on blood and its components must rest assured that there is no disruption in blood provision in Europe and in its quality.
Update 20 March 2020
EBA strives to map the different actions put in place in European blood establishments facing the COVID19 pandemic, to pursue protecting donors, blood establishments personnel, patients, and to ensure the on-going safety and quality of blood products.
European blood establishments have not reported any disruption in the provision of blood products to EBA, despite a decrease in blood collection in most European countries. Less demand in blood products from hospitals as they chose to postpone elective surgery partially explains this.
Measures such as offering a larger number of mobile collections to avoid the hospital donation centres, asking donors to wear masks or implementing 3-day shifts for laboratory staff have been implemented by several blood establishments. Others activated an emergency plan that do not allow healthcare professionals to take holidays or to leave the country during this pandemic. Deferrals depending on exposure to COVID19, or in relation with travel abroad vary across Europe as well as the questions asked in the donation centre for deferrals. A weekly updated survey allows EBA to collect information from members on organisational and donor selection matters.
Members are informed of each-other’s initiatives through COVID19 teleconferences and minutes – if you are an EBA member and wish to join these calls, please let us know info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
EBA also started a study group on convalescent plasma for parties interested in sharing information on how to best advance both the knowledge and practice in this field. Several European countries, members of EBA have initiated protocols to start collecting convalescent plasma and EBA is mapping the current initiatives on convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in a view to developing common approaches to donor selection criteria and collection and processing, wherever possible. If you are an EBA members and wish to be informed of EBA’s work on convalescent plasma please email us: info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
Finally, EBA keeps regular contacts at international level (particularly with American colleagues) and with the European Commission to ensure a smooth knowledge exchange.
Update 15 March 2020
Blood establishments involved or wishing to be involved in investigating the use of convalescent plasma in relation with COVID-19 should consider answering this IMI* (cooperation European Commission and pharmaceutical companies, represented by EFPIA) call for application for funding.
This call is a fast track one for this emergency and the deadline for applications for funding is the end of March. The potential for treatment with convalescent plasma (or hyperimmune PDMPs) would seem to fall very well into the first category of topics for which applications are invited.
Call – Topic
Scope: Considering that this is a newly-identified virus, the scope of this topic remains broad and must address at least one of the following objectives:
- development of antivirals as well as other types of therapeutics to address a rapid response to the current COVID-19 outbreak;
- development of therapeutics to address the current and/or future coronavirus outbreaks;
- development of diagnostics, ensuring rapid evaluation of candidates based on existing technologies;
- development of fast and reliable tools that go beyond the state of the art for detection of COVID-19 carriers and symptomatic individuals suspected of COVID-19 infection.
Preventive vaccines are specifically excluded from the scope of the Call.
For full details of the topic, including the budget breakdown and the General Conditions for the Call for proposals, click on the links above (which take you directly to the relevant page of the Participant Portal) or read the IMI2 – Call 21 Text.
*What is the IMI
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need.IMI is facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in health research, including universities, research centres, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators. IMI is the world’s biggest public-private partnership (PPP) in the life sciences. It is a partnership between the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations). Through the IMI2 programme, we have a €3.3 billion budget for the period 2014-2020.
The goal of IMI, particularly in its second phase (IMI2, 2014-2020) is to develop next generation vaccines, medicines and treatments, such as new antibiotics. The projects will provide Europeans, including the increasing numbers of older people, with more efficient and effective medicines and treatments. Greater coordination across industry sectors will result in more reliable and faster clinical trials, and better regulation. Its research and innovation efforts will also open new commercial possibilities based on new services and products. The research, industry and societal sectors involved in IMI2 will benefit from the cooperation and knowledge sharing which take place in these projects.
Update 12 March 2020
EBA has not been made aware of any disruption resulting in blood product shortages in EU country due to COVID19.
EBA wishes to highlight that blood donation and blood collection are essential activities for all national health services across the EU and should be prioritized as such.
EU countries members of EBA all have contingency planning in place and public health measures that ensure protections of donors, patients and healthcare workforce. Blood establishments are increasing their efforts to ensure a safe and sufficient level of blood and blood products supply and call on donors not affected by the virus to continue their charitable act of donation.
Encouraging blood donations by appointments to prevent crowding, donor “check” before entering the donation centre, that may include a temperature check as well as a visual check on the donor’s well-being (coughing, nose draining, hard time breathing, etc.), respecting a safe distance between donation chairs, increasing the number of mobile collections to avoid donations at the hospitals, bans on staff holidays or of leaving the country are some of the measures European Blood Establishments have put in place.
Calls in the media for blood donations are also increasing. However, at present, there is less demand for blood from European hospitals due to elective surgery being postponed.
Blood centres are not healthcare providers and thus do not provide SARS-CoV-2 tests. Blood centres do however screen all donors to make sure they are healthy and eligible to donate. All donors are screened to ensure they are feeling well.
There is no known risk of transmission of COVID-19 through the blood donation process or from blood transfusions.
Blood donation is not a mass gathering or social event. Individuals who are healthy and eligible to donate are strongly encouraged to do so in order to maintain an available blood supply for all patients.
Any question? Please contact your national/regional/local blood establishment, click on the map on the right to find their contact details.
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