Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply and use of blood for transfusion

Simon J. Stanworth, Helen V. New, Torunn O. Apelseth, Susan Brunskill, Rebecca Cardigan, Carolyn Doree, Marc Germain, Mindy Goldman, Edwin Massey, Daniele Prati, Nadine Shehata, Cynthia So-Osman, Jecko Thachil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has major implications for blood transfusion. There are uncertain patterns of demand, and transfusion institutions need to plan for reductions in donations and loss of crucial staff because of sickness and public health restrictions. We systematically searched for relevant studies addressing the transfusion chain—from donor, through collection and processing, to patients—to provide a synthesis of the published literature and guidance during times of potential or actual shortage. A reduction in donor numbers has largely been matched by reductions in demand for transfusion. Contingency planning includes prioritisation policies for patients in the event of predicted shortage. A range of strategies maintain ongoing equitable access to blood for transfusion during the pandemic, in addition to providing new therapies such as convalescent plasma. Sharing experience and developing expert consensus on the basis of evolving publications will help transfusion services and hospitals in countries at different stages in the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e756-e764
JournalThe Lancet Haematology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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