Friday, August 06, 2021

Scant evidence of Covid-19 transmission through blood, DOH says

USA. This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows Sars-CoV-2 virus particles that cause Covid-19, isolated from a patient in the US, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. (File)

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Monday, June 14, 2021, said there is a need to conduct studies on speculations that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may be transmitted through blood because there is currently scant evidence on this.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire assured that safeguard measures are in place to ensure that diseases are not transmitted during blood transfusion.

“Hindi naman tayo nagpapabaya din, kung saka-sakali (We are not being complacent),” Vergeire said.

She said donated blood is usually free, but there are screening tests that must be conducted before transfusion to ensure that no diseases are transmitted.

In the case of Covid-19, Vergeire said this disease is transmitted through respiratory droplets so there is very low probability that the virus is transmitted through blood.

It is a possibility, however, considering that Covid-19 may be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus.

“For now, we are not confirming this because we need further evidence. We need further guidance from international institutions and WHO (World Health Organization),” she said.

The DOH encouraged Filipinos, especially the youth, to donate blood on Monday in celebration of the World Blood Donor Day.

With the theme “Give Blood and Keep the World Beating,” WBDD 2021 highlights the contributions of blood donors by saving lives, and reinforces the global call for people to donate blood regularly.

The campaign also focuses on the youth’s role in ensuring safe blood supply as they form a large sector in many societies.

In 2020, the total blood collection in the Philippines decreased by 22.8 percent compared to the previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the need for blood and blood products by patients remained the same.

The DOH, through the National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP), has continuously ensured the supply of blood and blood products in the country through issuance of blood donors pass in areas with community quarantines, provision of free shuttle services to and from the blood service facilities, and Mobile Blood Donation (MBD) drives. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)


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