The Impact of COVID-19 on Blood Transfusion Services: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Transfusion medicine and hemotherapy : offizielles Organ der Deutschen Gesellschaft fur Transfusionsmedizin und Immunhamatologie. 2021;30:1-12
INTRODUCTION While SARS-CoV-2's main transmission route is through respiratory droplets, research has found that viral RNA could be detected in blood samples, causing concerns over the safety of blood donations and blood products. This paper therefore aims to systematically search for studies that have addressed their country's lack of donations and analyse the risk of blood transfusion-transmission. As such, it will answer the question "should blood services focus more on donation vigilance or worry more about the risks of transmission through blood products?" METHODS 38 articles were identified through a systematic review adopting the PRISMA and STROBE guidelines. Meta-analysis was conducted using OpenMeta software. RESULTS The average decrease in blood donations was found to be 38%, with some regions showing up to 67% decrease. To assess the risk of actual blood transfusion-transmission, three datasets were analysed. Firstly, the viral load in COVID-19 patients was studied and found to have less than 1% detection rate (ARD = -0.831, 95% -0.963, -0.699). Secondly, the prevalence of finding viral RNA in a pool of donations was nearly -1.503 (ARD = -1.538, -1.468). Lastly, recipients who were given blood products of positive donors were found to be -0.911 (ARD 95% = -1.247, -0.575). DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION Blood centres should focus more on launching initiatives and policies that would increase their countries' blood supply as the virus has no direct threat to blood safety.