Do you have COVID-19 questions? Our scientists have answers.

If a person who is infected with coronavirus, but who does not have symptoms, donates blood, and a patient eventually receives blood from that person, is the patient at risk of infection, and also at risk of spreading the virus themselves?

To date, there has been no evidence of transfusion-based transmission of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2), nor of the related coronavirus SARS-CoV-1. The AABB says that “individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.”

Moreover, routine screening of blood donors prevents individuals with clinical respiratory infections such as COVID-19, or even those who have knowingly contacted someone suspected of having COVID-19, from donating blood.

Evidence of viral RNA in infected people’s blood has been reported in their plasma; however, this does not necessarily mean that infectious virus can be spread via blood. Research regarding the presence of virus in blood plasma, serum, and lymphocytes is underway, as are the development of tests that could identify infectious virus in the blood.

Drafted 6 April 2020

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