China demands COVID-19 patients wait before donating blood

China demands COVID-19 patients wait before donating blood

Recovered coronavirus patients must wait at least six months before donating blood, Chinese authorities said, despite almost no scientific proof that COVID-19 can be passed through a blood transfusion, according to a report.

A  Wuhan-based specialist told The Beijing News that although genetic material from the virus has rarely been found in blood donated by asymptomatic patients, it was not possible to completely rule out the risk of infection.

The unidentified specialist also said traces of the virus have been found in the urine and blood of patients who were being treated — a theory which appeared to be backed up by a recent article in the American Society of Hematology’s journal, Blood.

“There is still a lack of solid evidence suggesting the novel coronavirus can be transmitted via blood transfusions, but we will halt all blood donations from recently recovered patients for the safety of blood donors and recipients,” said the specialist.

The coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan in late 2018, has spread around the world infecting nearly 62 million and resulting in more than 1.4 million deaths, according to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

Virus patients who have recovered have been urged to donate their plasma, considered full of antibodies, to treat COVID-19 patients as the world waits for a vaccine.