The covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges to the US blood supply—donor centers have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives. And so FDA has issued guidance for immediate implementation to address the urgent and immediate need for blood and blood components.

Based on recently completed studies and epidemiologic data, FDA has concluded that current policies regarding certain donor eligibility criteria can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply. Therefore, FDA is revising recommendations in several guidances regarding blood donor eligibility. The changes are being put forth for immediate implementation and are expected to remain in place after the covid-19 pandemic ends, with any appropriate changes based on comments the agency receives and its experience implementing the guidances.

Specifically, FDA is reducing or eliminating the recommended deferral period for people with risk factors for transmitting human immmunodeficiency virus (HIV), malaria, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Read more from FDA.

Featured image: Avetrana, Italy, March 19, 2020. A young donor wears a mask while donating blood in a mobile blood bank during the covid-19 pandemic. Photo © Anna Fedorova, courtesy Dreamstime (ID 176568915).