This page includes resources and information for the stem cell community regarding coronavirus. As the stem cell community continues to address the ongoing spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, WMDA will provide updates through this web page.
- Cornovirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the supply of substances of human origin in the EU/EEA (first update, published on April 29, 2020)
Information for healthcare professionals:
WMDA Webinars on COVID-19
- Tuesday, May 19th: Update of the WMDA S(P)EAR Committee in the meeting of the EU Competent Authorities.
- Tuesday, April 14th: Gift of Life Marrow Registry - introducing their new Hybrid Virtual Physical Exam for physical exams, by Jay Feinberg and panelists Bruce Lenes MD, Richaele Nichiporenko, DNP, Lindsey Greenberg, RN
- Thursday, April 9th: Singapore BMDP - ensuring continuity of care and sharing thier experience: In this webinar Charles Loh, Elaine Tan and Louise Cho, from the Singapore BMDP, explain how their registry is ensuring continuity of care. They share valuable and practical information on how to operate as a team during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Tuesday, April 7th: NMDP - ensuring continuity of care and sharing experiences: In this webinar Steven Devine of NMDP-Be the Match shares his experience and tells about all the actions NMDP-Be the Match is taking to ensuring continuity of care for patients and donors worldwide.
- Monday, April 6th (15:00 CEST):How to ensure unrelated donor grafts and CAR-T Cell Products during the Corona pandemic: joint webinar by EBMT and WMDA. View the presentation here.
- Thursday, April 2nd: Italian BMDR - ensuring continuity of care and sharing their experience: In this webinar Nicoletta Sacchi, from the Italian BMDR, shares her experience. She tells how IBMDR is ensuring continuity of care and how they managed the last few weeks during the COVID-19 crisis, which has hit Italy so very hard.
- Tuesday, March 31: ZKRD - ensuring continuity of care and sharing their experience: In this webinar Fabian Bosbach and Carlheinz Müller, from ZKRD, share their experience. They explain how ZKRD is ensuring continuity of care and how they are coping with this new reality we're faced with.
- Friday, March 27: Donor care – medical aspects: Our medical team explains the donor suitability criteria and respond to the questions you may have for donor care. Please note that we suffered a technical issue, resulting in problems with the sound during the first minutes. During the Q&A, after 9:09 minutes', the problem is solved. Find Mirjam's presentation here.\
- Thursday, March 26: Cord Blood Selection Service: Irina Evseeva of Anthony Nolan explains what support you will receive from the cord blood selection service and how it works. Find Irina's presentation here.
- Wednesday, March 25: WMDA International Emergency Task Force – Transport challenges: Gabi Rall of DKMS gives you an update on the work that has been done by the WMDA International Emergency Task Force and explore with you how they can support you more in the next weeks. Find Gabi's presentation here.
American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT): link, new May 20th, watch here the joint ASTCT/NMDP webinar.
Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT): link
World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA)
- August: Rapid Alerts submitted by WMDA S(P)EAR Committee
- June 8: Cord blood banks and COVID-19 results of the survey
- May 19: slide presentation at the EU Competent Authorities Meeting
- May 14: WBMT webinar slides
- April 15: Donor suitablity criteria defined by the WMDA Donor Suitability Committee
- March 26: European waiver and link to European information
- March 25: Support from WMDA International Emergency Task Force: link to request for assistance
- March 25: WMDA Cord Blood Selection Service: link to request for assistance here.
- Frequently Asked Questions from WMDA members (only for WMDA members)
Worldwide Network For Blood & Marrow Transplantation (WBMT): link
Ontime Onboard Courier/ECS
We are constantly monitoring all developments, which involves being in contact with relevant customers about possible scenarios and solutions. We are also working on Plan Bs and Cs to make sure the live saving product is securely transported from the donor to the patient in need. Selection of the most suitable couriers and transport routing is as always our highest priority! Please feel free to contact us anytime, if questions or queries occur: firstname.lastname@example.org We are always happy to assist you.
Time:matters Stem Cell Courier Services are operational and we continue to tailor stem cell courier transport solutions worldwide within the existing legal limits and currently existing travel restrictions. We exchange on a regular basis information within the international WMDA Emergency Task Force working on transport contingency plans for the entire WMDA community. Currently, the biggest challenge for transport planning are the short-term changes in international travel (e.g.immigration restrictions, flight availability, quarantine protocols), which require flexibility from all parties involved. Therefore, we recommend that TCs and registries contact their authorities at an early stage that they can apply for an possible exemption for stem cell couriers when travel restrictions are introduced or tightened. In this crisis time:matters Group will follow the official advise of WHO, respective national governments, state governments and Lufthansa Group! Please contact our stem cell team at email@example.com for any inquiries. Existing bookings will be administered and reassessed in connection with the changed regulation. We will contact you proactively if we need to discuss alternative options.
DKMS (Germany, Poland, US, UK, India and Chile)
Read here information from DKMS how they can organise a health availability check without blood collection instead of conventional Confirmatory/Verification Typing.
- Update August 27: DKMS Policy on Cryopreservation during COVID-19 Pandemic
DKMS does no longer generally recommend cryopreservation if donor availability is stable (especially DKMS Germany and Poland) and transport to the transplant unit is considered safe (currently most of Europe, North America, and domestic). If local infection rates change, we will adapt accordingly.
Nevertheless, we will not refuse COVID-based cryopreservation requests for those entities or from such regions.
We no longer limit DLI collections, or BM solely for capacity reasons.
Unfortunately, the rising number of stem cell products that will never be infused forces us to adapt our requirements for evaluation of any cryopreservation request.
The prerequisites below must be met, in-line with WMDA SEAR Rapid Alert 07-2020:
- BM cryopreservation will be accepted if excess cell counts can be expected (e.g., for small children)
- Conditioning must be planned as soon as possible after the product arrives. That is, within days (unless local jurisdiction requires certain quarantine periods); for products cryopreserved at the collection units, longer periods apply. Please provide the scheduled dates for start of conditioning and for infusion with the cryopreservation request.
- The transplant center must assess and confirm recipient’s final eligibility for immediate transplantation before scheduled start of the donation procedure, i.e. the 1st dose of GCSF or hospital admission for BM collection. This must include:
- Recent health status: Note this is the single most important requirement. We are aware that this might cause process changes and additional workload for some TC, but qualified and thorough (re-)assessment of recipient’s eligibility for transplantation right before start of donation has become a necessity.
- Patient’s verification typing results
- Donor’s extended and verification typing results
- Insurance covering or other financial resources for transplant expenses
- Capacity in the TC
The TC needs to commit itself to gather this information and update the donor center about any changes in order to have a cryopreservation request approved.
If this information, especially updated health status, is not provided before start of mobilization, the collection unit, donor center, or the donor may decide not to continue.
- Any postponement of planned conditioning / infusion dates must be communicated in a timely manner and may result in also postponing the collection, as would be the case with non-cryopreserved products.
We apologize for additional workload, but unfortunately all requirements stem from actual incidents. Providing as much information as possible on the initial cryopreservation request will save critical time.
March 20: DKMS globally implemented the following on Bone Marrow Collection and Unstimulated Leakapheresis (DLI) requests:
- Bone Marrow Collection:
- BM collection capacities might collapse due to staff reasons, need for ICU beds, or availability of ventilators at short notice. Therefore, in the current situation BM products should be reserved for those patients where PBSC is no option, especially small children and recipients with non-malignant conditions. Thus, we will ask you for a reason for each non-obvious BM request.
- We strongly recommend to switch any bone marrow request to PBSC where medically feasible. We will still accept BM requests, and do everything possible to continue, but we can no longer ensure that we will be able to collect this product to the same extent as we could for PBSC.
- Lower-than-requested cell counts are often observed in BM products. Please be aware of additional cryopreservation-associated cell loss when you make decisions on cryopreservation of BM products, especially for adult patients and in cases with unfavorable donor-patient weight ratio. If the expected viable cell content after cryopreservation is below the threshold for a promising transplantation, the collection unit might not be able to clear the donor for BM donation.
- Unstimulated Leukapheresis
- As long as apheresis capacities are not seriously hampered, we will still accept DLI requests, but we can no longer ensure that we will be able to collect the product to the same extent as we could for PBSC. We might be forced to cancel or postpone especially prophylactic T cell collections.
- Due to the unclear availability of DLI products, we urge all transplant centers to cryopreserve lymphocytes from T cell depletion or any other HSC product manipulation step.
Australia Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-7748)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/CRJcAQ
- Update August 13:
- Australia has implemented stringent border controls for both international and domestic travellers requiring all international collections to be cryopreserved at source and transported via dry shipper.
- Search: ABMDR is accepting search requests from transplant centres and registries as usual.
- VT & Workup: Information regarding Donor Health and Availability, Extended Typing, VT/Workup and Transportation requirements can be found on the ABMDR website: https://www.abmdr.org.au/covid-19-bmt-guidance/
- Please note: VT will not proceed until the Donor Health and Availability Assessment is completed.
Belgium Marrow Donor Programme Belgium - MDPB (ION-4201)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/QxJcAQ
- Update April 2: The MDPB applies the following policy in line with the guidelines for blood donors:
Deferral after COVID-19 infection = 28 days after symptoms resolution and end of the treatment
Deferral after contact with a COVID-19 patient = 28 days
Deferral after travel or contact with a person who traveled in a high-risk area = no defer
Suitability of the donor must be evaluated on COVID-19 symptoms: gastrointestinal & fever & respiratory symptoms in the last 28 days. And on exhaustive interrogation on possible contacts with COVID-19 patients, the last 28 days is mandatory
PCR or antibody testing of the donor is not needed.
Source freezing is an option for intercontinental or airplane transportation. Not for quarantine reason but for travel hurdles.
Post-donation donor information in case of complaints till 14 days after the donation is advised.
Canada Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry (ION-5103)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/fxJcAQ
- Update June 24:
- Document 1: interim order to prevent certain persons from boarding flights to Canada due to COVID-19, No. 6
- Document 2: Minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States)
- Document 3: Minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country other than the United States)
- Direct link: Minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation, with exemptions), No. 2
- General information.
- Contact information: Gail Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Héma-Québec Registry (ION-6912)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/eRJcAQ
- Update March 18: As of March 18th, international flights will be permitted to land only at the international airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a statement in which he announced that Canada is barring entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Americans. There does not seem to be any restriction for Canadians leaving the country but no person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to board a plane to Canada and air operators will be required to complete a basic health assessment of every passenger based on guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada. All returning travellers will have to undergo a 14 day isolation period prior to resuming normal activities. These measures will be in place until further notice but the Prime Minister warns that they are subject to change as the situation progresses. Héma-Québec is working closely with Canadian Blood Services and courier services in order to find solutions to minimize the impact on international stem cell transportation and will follow-up with relevant up-dates on the situation.
China Marrow Donor Programme - CMDP (ION-2197)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/mRJcAQ
- Update March 3:
Policy: In response to the novel coronavirus (currently named COVID-19), CMDP has established the policy of hematopoietic stem cell donation for the period of epidemic prevention & control according to Chinese government's request and the WMDA's guidance. In the current situation, the work of CMDP is suffering some limitations and could not be carried out normally as before. But for individual cases, especially for those in critical condition and have no alternative treatment, CMDP would assess relevant risks and feasibility, and make reasonable arrangements so as to ensure the safety of donors, patients and employees of CMDP.
- Postpone donation: According to the novel coronavirus – guidance of WMDA, it is recommended to postpone donation in case of donors coming from risk area, or contacting with a confirmed case, or with History of COVID-19 infection. The deferred period would follow the WMDA's guidance.
- Search & Match: CMDP accepts searching request from overseas registries as usual. The follow-up procedures might be affected by a lot of factors, 1) local situation of infection prevention and control where matched donors reside, 2) donors’ history of travel and close contact with COVID-19 infection, 3) the safety measures and capability of relevant PE center and collection center, and 4) the willingness of donors and their families in such situations.
- CT requests: Due to the spread of COVID-19 around the world, Hong Kong SAR government restricts entry of travelers from mainland China until 8th May. As a result, CT blood samples from CMDP donors could not be shipped to oversea destinations during this period. This situation might be adjusted according to the decision of Hong Kong SAR government.
- Transplant and collection plan: CMDP will make suggestions based on situation of collection center and donor’s local infection prevention & control condition, which will be finalized by both parties on the premise of flight confirmed.
CMDP would report to WMDA if any critical contingency occurs.
And we are grateful to the understanding of worldwide registries as to this special situation.
Let's work together to get through this hard time.
Croatia Croatian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-5712)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/uRJcAQ
- Update April 1:
- CBMDR Registry personnel - Working mainly from home. All international registries can contact us as usual, by emails and / or mobile phones: 00 385 91 49 20 585 Nika Kalogjera, MD, Director (also emergency number!) and 00 385 91 49 21 178 Josipa Canic, office manager
- Search requests - CBMDR registry is accepting search requests from international registries as usual.
- CT process - CBMDR registry will temporarily stop providing blood samples at the VT stage for HLA typing and IDM testing’s. Due to the current COVID -19 situation, from 1st April until further notice, CBMDR will no longer send blood samples abroad. When contacting donors, we will check donor’s availability and perform the health history screening questionnaire, which includes also screening for COVID-19 exposure or infection. If further HLA typing is necessary, it will be carried out at any moment prior and closest to the donation process.
- Work up requests - CBMDR accept work-up request as usual. Please send requests for CT blood samples together with work up requests, as blood samples will be taken in addition to the pre-collection samples. Our recommendation for all transplant centers is to ask for PBSC collections ( in accordance with EBMT guidelines) and to cryopreserve stem cells . Please note that all donors will be tested on COVID-19 before starting G-CSF stimulation and day before collection. They are all advised and educated to follow standard hygiene measures and to respect social isolation before donation. After the donation, all donors will be followed up for any possible symptoms of COVID-19.
Cyprus Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-9751)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/xxJcAQ
- Update May 25: Information regarding COVID-19 measures at Larnaka & Pafos Airports. Important Announcement: Within the framework of the measures announced by the Republic of Cyprus regarding the gradual easing of the restrictions in flights operated to and from Larnaka and Pafos Airport, the action plan foresees two phases for the opening of the airports and the restoration of Cyprus’ connectivity with other countries, as follows:
- PHASE A: 9 – 19 June 2020: During Phase A, whoever arrives from the countries included both categories, will have to furnish a clear Covid-19 test from a certified laboratory to be allowed onboard. The test should have a negative result and be conducted within 72 hours before departure. Cypriot citizens and permanent residents in Cyprus, also have the opportunity to take the test upon their arrival in Cyprus. In this case and until the test results are issued, they are to remain in self-isolation at home.
- PHASE B: 20 June 2020: During Phase B, which commences on 20 June, any passenger arriving from countries belonging in Category A, will not need to have a test in place.
The classification of the countries was made based on their current epidemiological data. To this extend, two categories were created including countries with which connectivity is restored.
- Category A: Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania.
- Category B: Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
For passengers arriving from countries included in Category B, will continue to need a clear COVID19 test issued 72 hours before their departure in order to be allowed onboard. Cypriot nationals and legal residents from those countries will be able to take the test upon their arrival to the island. In such an occasion and until the test results are issued, they will remain in self-isolation at home. For all other countries which are not included in the two categories, at any given time, the Republic of Cyprus will allow flights carrying solely Cypriot citizens and people to whom special permission will be granted. In this occasion, they would have to furnish a clear Covid-19 test conducted 72 hours previously, before they are allowed to board an aircraft to Cyprus. Alternatively, the test can be conducted upon their arrival to Cyprus, however passengers will remain at a designated area for 1 day or until the test results are issued.
All passengers arriving from countries which are not included in the two categories, will be transported to their houses to undergo a 14 day self-isolation. The cost for the laboratory test as well as the quarantine/self-isolation/transportation cost will be paid by the passenger. In countries where it is verified that the Authorities cannot provide laboratory test services, and in order to facilitate those passengers interested to travel to Cyprus, this facility will be provided upon their arrival in Cyprus.
The Ministry of Health will continue to evaluate the epidemiological data of the countries, in order to validate the inclusion of the countries in the abovementioned categories. In the following days, additional countries will be announced.
As of Monday, May 25 at 6am, people who are currently in quarantine will be allowed to go home and spend the remaining days in self- isolation, based on the category of their country of origin.
Those repatriating between May 25 and June 8 will be tested upon arrival and remain for one day at a designated place or until the result is issued. They will then go home and self-isolate for seven days if arriving from countries included in the two categories and 14 days if arriving from other countries.
Czechia Czech National Marrow Donor Registry Plzeň (ION-5440)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/1xJcAQ
Update June 8: CNMDR is fully operational for all its services and activities
- Travel restrictions from and to Czech Republic are gradually loosening. Current information can be found here: https://www.mvcr.cz/mvcren/article/coronavirus-information-of-moi.aspx
- Czech borders are open for the purpose of the transport of the stem cell graft. Permit letters are required – registry issues permit for each transport.
- Please note that foreign courier is allowed to stay in the Czech Republic only less than 24 hours.
- CNMDR may arrange courier service with hand over at the border crossing.
- If necessary, all information regarding Donor Health&Availability, VT/Workup and Transportation requirements can be provided, discussed and/or consulted by phone (+420373034333) or e-mail (email@example.com)
Czechia Czech Stem Cell Registry (ION-4753)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/3xJcAQ
- Update June 16:
- Czech Stem Cells Registry is fully operational. Please kindly send all communication via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travelling to and from the Czech Republic - Current information can be found here: https://www.mvcr.cz/mvcren/article/coronavirus-information-of-moi.aspx
Czech borders are open for the purpose of the transport of the stem cell graft. Permit letters are required – registry issues permit for each transport. CSCR will provide detailed courier instructions with regard to the nationality/citizenship of the courier. CSCR may arrange courier service with hand over at the border crossing.
Denmark Danish Stem Cell Donors East (ION-7484)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/display/WMDAREG/Operational+Information+ION-7484#/
- Update March 26: The registry stays operational. We can be reached on telephone (+45) 3545 3970 during normal working hours or by E-mail DSDE.email@example.com.
- Donors follow the national laws and recommendations from the Danish Government and Danish Health Authority.
- The registry accepts cryopreservation of products.
- Danish borders are closed but transportation of hematopoietic stem cell products for Danish or international patients is accepted as one of the creditable exceptions. The registry makes individual arrangements for each transport. The registry informs the police on the border when a transportation has been arranged. Additionally, the registry will provide the courier with a documentation to show at the border including a 24/7 telephone number to the medical director of the registry.
Denmark Stem Cell Donors West (ION-2015)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/6xJcAQ
- Update March 19: The registry stays operational. It varies if staff is working home or will be in the office. You will always be able to reach us by e-mail using: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donors is routinely asked about travel activity within last 6 months and if they have any flu-like symptoms
- Donors are advised to follow the safety measures from the Danish Government and health care authority.
- We will accept that product are cryopreserved.
- The Danish borders are closed, but persons with a creditable purpose are allowed to enter. Medicine is considered a creditable purpose. The registry will provide documentation for the courier to show at the border that will allow them to travel to the Transplant Center or Collection Center. The documentation will include a 24/7 phone number for the border police to confirm the purpose of the courier, if needed. link to attached file: "collection – permission for border"
Finnish Stem Cell Registry - FSCR (ION-9738)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/9RJcAQ
- Update May 20:
- Cryopreservation of grafts: The FSCR registry accepts higher cell count requests due to cryopreservation.
- PBSC: Requests for 6 - 10 x 10^6 CD34+ / kg BW of the recipient are accepted. However, if the result of the first day of apheresis is > 6 x 10^6 CD34+, continuing the collection on the second day will be determined by the collection center physician. For pediatric patients, even higher cell counts per kg patient BW may be acceptable.
- BM: we cannot accept any requests that would lead to collection of more than 20mL/kg donor weight (TNC content is usually 15 – 20 x 10^6 / mL).
- Update April 17:
- Search: FSCR accepts search requests from registries and domestic transplant centers as usual, without Covid-19 related restrictions.
- CT and Workup Requests: Requests will be accepted as usual. To clarify the donor’s risk of infection, questioning has been extended for both CT and workup. We seek to minimize contacts for our donors. Thus, we recommend changing over from CT with blood samples to the Health & Availability Check in the case of well-typed donors. If donors develop symptoms related to Covid-19 during the work-up period, they will be tested for SARS-CoV-2, but routine testing of donors or products is not performed. The transplant center will be notified immediately once ineligibility or deferral has been determined. BM harvests may be more difficult to arrange, and there may be last minute changes in graft source. We recommend opting for PBSC whenever possible
- Transport, Import and Export: Restrictions in air travel to and from Finland continue to increase and we are trying to obtain more information from the responsible government authorities. Currently couriers can enter the country. However, they may only pass or receive the graft to or from a registry representative, and then go directly to an airport hotel and remain in quarantine-like conditions until their return flight. All trips must be made by taxi; no use of public transport is permitted. In case a courier is experiencing problems at the Finnish border, please call this mobile number: +358-50-396-9450.
France France Greffe De Moelle - FGM (ION-1804)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/AxNcAQ
- Update May 27:
- Official statement, link (3rd stage of COVID-19 epidemic)
- FGM Registry Personnel: FGM staff will progressively be returning to FGM offices, current mail/cell phone numbers can still be used. For any urgent situation, please use the Emergency contact email and/or telephone: email@example.com / +33-6-88 22 35 28.
- Search requests: FGM registry is accepting search requests from international registries as usual.
- CT-process: FGM is now able to provide again blood samples at the VT stage for HLA typing andIDM testings. When contacting donors, donor centers will still check donor availability and perform the health history screening questionnaire, which continue to include screening for COVID-19 exposure.
- Work-up requests: FGM registry will accept work-up requests as usual. All donors are asked about travel history, upcoming travel and exposure to COVID-19 within the last 28 days. BM collections can again be requested, but the feasibility of the collection procedure will be discussed on a case to case basis.
- Stem cell donation recommendations: Recommendations of the national health competent authorities (without prejudice to any other measures concerning other infectious agents):
Donor qualification: The donor biological eligibility is carried out by testing the donor for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by gene amplification (RT-PCR) on a naso-pharyngeal swab [or, if impossible, on a blood sample (whole blood, serum or plasma)]. The results are transmitted upon reception to the transplant team. All donors are tested for SARS-CoV-2 before the start of GCSF stimulation and close to the day of donation. Donors are asked to follow safety hygiene measures and are followed-up after the donation in order to detect any symptoms of Covid-19. For donors having experienced documented SARS-CoV-2 infection, a stem cell collection can be accepted 28 days after the resolution of symptoms.
- Transport of HPC collected from French donors or international donors:
Border documents required by the national authorities are still mandatory until all borders closure have been cancelled.
Cryopreservation of all unrelated products remains recommended at their reception by the transplant center facility, before the patient's conditioning starts. This recommendation is submitted to evolution according to the epidemic situation.
Germany ZKRD (ION-6939)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/FxNcAQ
- Update July 10: ZKRD Operative Information during COVID-19. Although some colleagues continue to work from remote, staff is also present at the ZKRD office. For this reason, contact should primarily be via email, however staff can also be reached by phone. Our emergency numbers continue to be available 24/7, as usual. A travel waiver for international transports can be found here the complete information and the waiver.
- Search: The ZKRD continues to accept search requests from transplant centers and registries without any restrictions.
- CT and Workup Requests: Requests will continue to be accepted as usual, although the provision of blood samples for confirmatory typing can be challenging in individual cases. We expect our partners to ensure that testing of samples provided will be carried out. Additionally, the Health and Availability Check (HAC) has been established as a regular service, and may be requested prior to a CT or a combined CT-WU request for donors whose HLA has already been well-tested. To clarify the donor’s risk of infection, health questionnaires have been amended to specifically include COVID-19 at both the CT and workup stages.
Routine medical examination of donors includes risk evaluation for transmission of infectious diseases. If donors have relevant symptoms and a history of contact with a COVID-19 case, or they have been exposed to a risk area, they will be deferred for a minimum of 4 weeks. Donors which have had contact to a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 will be deferred for at least 2 weeks. The transplant center will be notified immediately if ineligibility or deferral has been determined. Routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 will not be carried out on donors or products, as there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted via bone marrow, blood or blood products.
- Transport, Import and Export: Transport, Import and Export: For products involving DKMS donors: If a courier experiences problems at the German border when entering or leaving Germany, you can call this mobile number: +49 174 192 59 36. For products from all other German donor centers, please call the following number (ZKRD Transport Management) for assistance if couriers experience difficulties at the German border: +49 731 1507 201. Please note that currently the ZKRD recommends using couriers from an experienced and audited courier company for pick-ups to or from international centers. Currently citizens of non-EU countries will only be permitted to enter the EU, and thus Germany, in cases of documented urgent need. All affected registries providing their own couriers should closely monitor travel restrictions and remain in contact with Transport Management.
Hungary Hungarian Stem Cell Donor Registry (ION-1695)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/NRNcAQ
- Update September 1:
- Search: The Registry operate full capacity. We are available via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- VT & Workup:
- HBMDR accepts searching requests from registries as usual, our donors can provide blood samples for verification typing.
- To clarify the risk of infection on donors: If the donors have related symptoms, history of contact with COVID-19 cases or have been exposed to the risk area, the donation process on the donors will be deferred for four (4) weeks (according to the EBMT guideline).
- Organisation of HSC product export and import:
- Hungarian borders are closed for all non-citizens from Sept 1, 2020 with some exceptions including transport of the stem cell graft. Permit letter is required. HBMDR provides the partner organization with all information and documents regarding measures in Hungary, including necessary permit letters to allow traveling with product. We are working hard with competent authorities to find suitable solutions for each transport individually and we are in close contact with the relevant registries and transport company.
- In order to prevent any risk of harm to the recipients, our medical committee recommend allow the transplant centers to cryopreserve the products upon receipt and to start the conditioning regimen only after safe arrival of the product (according to the EBMT guideline).
Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-4070)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/pxJcAQ
- Update February 12:
Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry is facing a very difficult situation with risk of a lot of local infections and travel restrictions from/to other countries. At the moment, Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry will continue to provide hematopoietic stem cell donations for those confirmed cases both local and overseas. As it is uncertain when the infection will be settled, after seeking our hospital authority agreement, Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry will temporarily suspend to provide CT and work up for overseas patients. At the same time, Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry advises the Hong Kong transplant centres to consider selecting local donors other than overseas to avoid any delay or disappointment due to travel restrictions. The transplant centres in Hong Kong are also advised to use cord blood units which are readily available.
Please note there is also issue of our donors willingness to attend our facility for work up and donation. They express worries to visit health care facilities. Anyway, it is very challenging to healthcare system, public health, HSC and blood supply. WE are learning everyday. Kindly note: these precautions are implemented to act for the best interest of patients, donors and HSC products. To avoid unnecessary delay and disappointment due to travel restrictuion,alternative strategies though not the best one should be considered.
Israel Ezer Mizion Registry Israel Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-4987)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/hRNcAQ; statement, for print.
- Update September 14:
- see attachment here.
As of September 18th for a period of at least 3 weeks Israel will be in national lock-down. Our registry will remain fully operational and as of today there are no changes regarding to airport activities. Our request that TC's cryopreserve the products (except T-Cells) is still relevant.
- Ezer Mizion registry is committed to continue and provide stem cells to patients all over the world; however our operations are impacted by the COVID-19 situation. The following updates are provided:
GENERAL Ezer Mizion Registry is fully operational. Our staff is working in shifts from home and therefore there might be some difficulties to reach our offices. We advise to use e-mail as much as possible. Our emergency numbers are available as usual 24/7.
DONORS AVAILABILITY The number of new COVID-19 cases is rising again significantly after a period of relative low cases that were reported due to the approval of the Israeli MOH for a series of steps to ease the lockdown restrictions on the general population. As such we are re-experiencing barriers regarding our donors' availability at all stages.
CRYOPRESERVATION OF PRODUCTS As a result of the above mentioned development as well as the continuous situation of border closing, low availability of flights and travel bans and for the safety of the patients we will process only those WU requests that are cryopreserved by the TC until further notice. Exceptions would be granted on a case-by-case basis following discussion between your medical team and the Ezer Mizion medical staff.
HEALTH SCREENING To clarify the risk of infection on donors, we implemented a designated questionnaire in order to survey the donors for COVID-19 symptoms for both CT and WU. If the donors have related symptoms, history of contact with COVID-19 cases or have been exposed to a risk area, the donation process on the donors will be deferred for four (4) weeks. We also carefully monitor for COVID-19 symptoms before initiation of Neupogen injections and stem cells collection. The transplant centre will be notified immediately once an ineligibility or deferral is determined. We do not perform routine SARS-CoV-2 screening test. The donors are surveyed 14 days after the collections to determine if they are at risk of COVID-19 infection and will notify the transplant center as needed. The donors are surveyed 14 days after the collections to determine if they are at risk of COVID-19 infection and will notify the transplant center as needed.
BONE MARROW COLLECTION BM harvests are very difficult to arrange, and there may be last minute changes in graft source. We recommend opting for PBSC whenever medically possible.
COURIER SERVICES Due to the restrictions imposed on foreigners to enter Israel and the continued lack of flights, we will only be able to process new WU requests with courier transport services provided by the Israeli branch of "Royale International group" company. We will not be able to proceed to WU if the requesting registries persist on sending their own couriers. Information regarding the company's services is available at: https://www.royaleinternational.com/. We will work with the relevant registries regarding the specific customs requirements needed in every country to facilitate the product transport. Please note that due to specific security arrangements which are required at TLV airport, the courier costs will be higher than usual.
Israel Hadassah Registry (ION-5239)
- Update May 28: Hadassah registry operates in full format and provide maximum response to every request from the transplant centrs. Hadassah Registry has added to the donors health questions, the questions about the corona as requested by WMDA at the CT questionnaire and the WU questionnaire. In case of suspicions about the donor we will update the transplant centre.
- PBSC - The apheresis unit located within the hospital performs the procedure while strictly all precautions required during the Corona virus period.
- BM - bone marrow collections will continue as usual at the Hadassah Hospital accordance with the procedures of the MOH.
- The State of Israel is currently approving a series of relief measures related to the Corona virus, so we have the maximum availability for CT and WU requests .
We are not expect barriers regarding our donors availability and we can provide maximum response for donations requests
Transfers: we transfer the product through ICL company which specialize in complex transports and operate under the guidelines of all countries because of Covid-19 restrictions, before we close the shipping, we ask for a quote and send for the approval from the transplant centre.
In order to simplify the shipping process we will pay directly to ICL and we will charge the payment from the transplant centre.
India DKMS-BMST Foundation by intermediary of DKMS Registry (ION-9935)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/d4JGE
- Update May 25:
Health & Availability Check (HAC): We recommend a Health & Availability Check (HAC) instead of requesting a CT. A HAC request includes a donor health history questionnaire as well as an information session with the donor. Please be aware that a CT testing has to be performed before transplantation. Therefore, for donors without regular CT, a CT + Workup request (CT/WU-Combo) has to be requested, where CT samples are then taken in addition to the pre-collection samples on the day of donor’s physical examination.
Workup requests and transport of stem cell product: Due to the necessity for cryopreservation higher cell counts are accepted, as long as the requested cell count is reasonable and does not place the donor under a higher risk. DKMS has so far been able to ensure that every stem cell product has safely reached its recipient wherever they have been around the world. However, for some countries we are still facing challenges regarding the transport and we ask you to be flexible regarding the date of collection and the delivery cate of the stem cells in your country. DKMS-BMST is prepared to support you in importing stem cells to India. Transports to and from India have been successfully tested. Even if domestic flights are operating again, a transport in India requires preparation time which should be considered.
Italy Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-1055)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/qxNcAQ
- Update June 15: IBMDR operational activity
- extended/verification typing: our donors are fully committed to provide fresh blood samples for extended or verification typings. Most donor centers established COVID-free areas, so there is no increased risk for donors. Some donor centers contact the donor to check the elegibility by phone, by videocall etc...and only if the donor is considered fit, he/she is allowed to go to the donor center for the blood draw. We are experiencing still some but short delay in the delivery of the samples, but no incident reports were received due to the ineligibility of the received samples.
- HPC/lymphocite donation: according to the registered data of 2020 compared to 2019 (same period), we can document that the activity is currently as previous the pandemic. All the donors are tested for SARS-COV-2 by gene amplification (RT-PCR) before the administration of G-CSF or before the beginning of patient's conditioning regimen whichever occurred first. During the pandemic, no donors were found positive at time of testing before the donation procedure started.
- Transport of HPC/lymphocites: since last 3rd of June, the National authorities opened the boarders of Italy and free circulation is allowed among the Italian Regions. This means that couriers could enter, move and exit from the countries without any restrictions or need to be quarantined. Furthermore since the 15th of June most national airports are opening (main HUBs of Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa are restoring their operation), so new flights may be very shortly available. Of course if your couriers need any help, feel free to contact us, we will be pleased to help.
- Cryopreservation of the HPC: our competent authorities do not more strictly require to begin the patient conditioning regimen only after the receipt of the product. However they suggest to the transplant centers to evaluate the benefit/risk case by case. In case of cryopreservation the donor center will be informed.
- Questions? We are fully operative from 08:00 a.m. to 04:30 p.m. CEST and reachable at the following numbers: +39 01 056 344 34-35, in case of emergency, outside the bussiness hours, +39-320-8508989 or you could contact us by e-mail: email@example.com.
Japan Marrow Donor Program - JMDP (ION-4364)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/vRNcAQ
- Update March 26: To whom it may concern: We would like to update the Japanese current situation regarding the pandemic of COVID-19. JMDP staff is working at the offices as usual, and there are no restrictions on proceeding with every coordination stage. In effort to identify donors who may have or be at risk for contracting COVID-19, JMDP has been screening donors from the initial stage. All donors are instructed to inform us of any changes in their health status.
JMDP have updated the donor suitability criteria:
- If either question below is answered as Yes, the donor will be released:
- Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Have you been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with coronavirus infection?
- (To a donor candidate with fever; a temperature of 37.5℃ or higher and/or with respiratoryproblems), have you traveled to a high-risk country* in the last 14 days? *high-risk country : signed by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
- Have you been in close contact with anyone who have the fever (a temperature of 37.5℃ or higher), respiratoryproblems, and traveled to a high-risk country within the last 14 days?
- Have you traveled overseas within the last 4 weeks?
- Have you been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with coronavirus infection within the last 4 weeks?
- If either question below is answered as Yes, the information will be provided to the transplant center and the transplant center will decide whether to proceed with the donor
- Has it passed over 3 months since you recovered from COVID-19?
- Have you traveled to a high-risk country within the last 3 months? (In the case of within the past 4 weeks, please refer to A-5.)
- Have you been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with coronavirus infection within the last 3 months? (In the case of within the past 4 weeks, please refer to A-6.)
- If either question below is answered as Yes, the donor will be released:
- To transplant centres abroad: JMDP will do the best to coordinate our donors for your recipients according to your request, although some difficulties exist over Covid -9 pandemic. For the transportation of HSC from Japan to your country, we announce the followings;
- In case that fresh BM or PB is requested, it will be transferred at the appropriate airport from Japanese courier to the courier from your country.
- In case that a TC plans to cryopreserve the JMDP donor PBSC and asks Japanese harvest center to cryopreserve it, AC will cryopreserve it.
- In case that a TC plans to cryopreserve the JMDP donor BM and asks Japanese collection center to cryopreserve it, it may be difficult depending on CC.
- When cryopreserved product is required, please prepare a dry shipper by yourself.
We will continue to update as the COVID-19 situation changes.
Korea Marrow Donor Program -KMDP (WO-1058)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/iwCZDw
- Update June 19: There are around 0~00 new confirmed cases everyday but now reducing numbers in Korea. KMDP is working as usual but we are still continuing social distancing.
- Search: KMDP accepts search requests from registries as usual, without any restrictions.
- CT and Workup Requests: Requests will be accepted as usual. To clarify the donor’s risk of infection, KMDP surveys all donors for both CT and workup stages. If donors have relevant symptoms, a history of contact with COVID-19 cases, the donors will be deferred for 4 weeks. The transplant center will be notified immediately once ineligibility or deferral has been determined. It depends on the collection center regarding the test for COVID-19 of the donor, but if TC requests a test we are able to test it.
- Transport, Import and Export: Any foreign country citizen entering Korea has to stay in quarantine for 14 days. Our strong recommendation is planned cryopreservation of adult donor products so that arrival of the product can be confirmed prior to the start of patient conditioning and prepare a dry shipper by requesting registry.
Netherlands Matchis (ION-8139)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/yRRcAQ
- Update March 19, download waiver here.
- Official statement of the registry, here.
Norway Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-7214)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/-xNcAQ
- Update March 23: waiver
- Update June 15:
Norwegian Authorities has, 13.3.2020, issued regulations on quarantine, etc. on arrival in Norway. It implements that a person on arrival in Norway must stay in quarantine for 14 days. Persons that do not have a residence permit in Norway will be expelled at the border. There are, however, possibilities for exceptions from the quarantine duty for persons who are strictly necessary to maintain the proper operation of critical social functions and attend to the basic needs of the population. We have been given exception from the quarantine duty for stem cell couriers transporting stem cell products. Non-Norwegian stem cell couriers will be provided with documentation that allows them to travel to our Transplant center and deliver the stem cell product. This exception can also be given for a courier transporting stem cells out of Norway, if needed (we have none exports planned for the first weeks coming). If this becomes difficult to handle we will organize hand over of stem cell products at Gardermoen airport, Oslo. Persons covered by the exception in the first and second paragraphs shall, as far as possible, avoid close contact with other persons. Documentation needed for couriers: document 1.
Poland Poltransplant (ION-5391)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/DxRcAQ
- Update March 14: Yesterday the Polish government decided to close all air connections to Poland and all borders, since 15 of March all regular flights are cancelled. The only way to send transplant material abroad is via Germany and airport in Berlin. We are working hard on organization of transport for collections scheduled for week 16-22.03, addressing each case individually to ensure there is minimal impact to patients. Our DCs and CCs can transport the material to the border and hand on the cells to the courier from TC with the help of Polish border guards. It is not allowed to any foreign country citizen to enter Poland. Polish courier returning from abroad will have to stay in quarantine for 14 days. There is also a possibility of organizing special air transport via Okecie Airport in Warsaw. Our strong recommendation is planned cryopreservation of adult donor products so that arrival of the product can be confirmed prior to the start of patient conditioning. I trust that together we can face this difficult situation.
Portugal Cedace (ION-7358)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/FxRcAQ
- Update March 18: read here.
Romanian National Registry of Hematopoietic Stem Cells Voluntary Donors (ION 1372)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/GxRcAQ
- Update June 16: Beginning with June 15th 2020, the authorities decided some relaxation measures within the state of alert applicable to the general population of Romania, taking into consideration the constant level under 2% of the confirmation index (the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests performed). The flights to and from 17 countries can land on Romanian airports (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary).
- RNDVCSH - Romanian Registry is committed to continue and provide all the services, with some restrictions during the state of alert that is prolonging till 30 of June or even 15 of July (only emergency services can be provided and BM collections are recommended to be postponed).
- RNDVCSH - Romanian Registry’s staff is back to the office and we are fully operational. All the communication channels are available and we can be contacted via EMDIS, fax or e-mail.
The following updates are provided:
- EXTENDED TYPING AND CONFIRMATORY (CT/VT) REQUESTS: We are taking the requests for extended typing in all those cases where the laboratory still has blood samples storage. If there are not blood sample, we are conducting a willingness and health assessment of the donors, and if the blood drawn is not possible we cancel the extended typing request.
Regarding CT VT/requests is our priority. We call donor for willingness and health, and if the donor is willing to travel for blood sample collection we can perform the requested service, if not we will postpone and the donor is reserved for 3 months.
- DONOR AVAILABILITY: Some restrictive traveling measures are in place and affect our donors' availability. The travel of donors from more than 30 km faraway of donor center, is allowed with a statement on her / his own responsibility.
- HEALTH SCREENING: To clarify the risk of infection on donors, we implemented a designated questionnaire in order to survey the donors for COVID-19 symptoms. Donors with active confirmed COVID-19 are not eligible for HSC donation. If the donors have related symptoms, history of contact with COVID-19 cases or have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (red areas of risk), the donation process of this donors will be deferred for four (4) weeks. The transplant centre will be notified immediately once an ineligibility or deferral is determined.
We perform testing for COVID-19 (done by real-time PCR) at the work-up and if the donor pas the clearence, on the day of donation (the recommendation for eligible persons for real-time PCR test can be access here http://www.cnscbt.ro/).
- CRYOPRESERVATION OF PBSC PRODUCTS: In order to prevent any risk of harm to the recipients, scientific board of RNDVCSH strongly recommend that all products be cryopreserved for every PBSC collection until further notice. They recommend an alternative donor as back-up in situations where there is an increased risk that a donor would become unavailable at the time of planned transplantation due to community-acquired COVID-19, travel restrictions or logistical difficulties at a transplant centre/collection center.
The transplant centers will cryopreserve the products upon receipt and will start the conditioning regimen only after safe arrival of the product. RNDVCSH also surveys the national donors, during 14 days after the collections to determine if the donors are at risk of COVID-19 infection and will notify the transplant centre as needed.
- BONE MARROW COLLECTION: In Romania, following the recent national measures for limitation of COVID-19 pandemic, restricted the access to the operating rooms and intensive care services. Till further notice, the bone marrow collection cannot be performed in Collection Centers.
- TRANSPORTATION: During the state of alert, flights to and from the following countries can land on Romanian airports: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary. The list of the countries is updated weekly and new countries will be added. For all the European Union countries the road transportation is possible, and RNDVCSH will issue the import/export authorisation. We will also issue a certificate/letter for facilitating cross-border shipments of HSC as essential goods and services within the EU countries, and will inform national authorities regarding each transport.
- CONTACT INFORMATION: Aurora Dragomiristeanu firstname.lastname@example.org; +40722.751.147
We express our gratitude to transplantation community and worldwide bone marrow registries. With this challenge, we hope we could stay active to overcome this exceptional period.
Keep safe and stay well.
- EXTENDED TYPING AND CONFIRMATORY (CT/VT) REQUESTS: We are taking the requests for extended typing in all those cases where the laboratory still has blood samples storage. If there are not blood sample, we are conducting a willingness and health assessment of the donors, and if the blood drawn is not possible we cancel the extended typing request.
Russia Karelian Registry of Hematopoietic Stem Cells (ION-8256)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/MRRcAQ
- Update June 15: Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, Russia has stopped all travel abroad (since March 27th) and adopted some restrictions for travel of civil individuals (since March 30th). However under certain circumstances people may leave their homes, in particular, to visit a medical office. Since the risk of donor infection with COVID-19 is quite high, some operations of the Karelian Registry cannot be performed in full scale. However, this greatly varies from one particular case to another, and we hope the restrictions will not hold for too long.
- Search: There are no restrictions, conducted as usual.
- Additional HLA typing: Additional HLA-typing is possible once the donor gives explicit consent and does not experience travel restrictions on the way to the medical office in charge for taking blood samples. In response to a particular request we will at once inform the requesting center about the possibility of typing.
- Confirmatory typing: It is possible if the following standard conditions are met. To export blood samples an agreement must be made with the requesting center. In addition we need to obtain permission from the Russian Ministry of Health. There are currently no delays with the execution of such agreements from our part. Obtaining permission to export blood samples usually takes 10-12 days.Obstacles for sending blood samples abroad may rise due to restrictions set on international flights. Once we are unable to send blood samples for CT, we will promptly notify the requesting center. With the consent of the transplant center we can have high resolution HLA-typing A-B-C-DRB1-DQB1 and IDM tests performed by an independent laboratory.During an epidemic a donor may experience travel restrictions on the way to the medical office in charge for taking blood samples. However we are ready to check the donor’s health ourselves and report the results to the requesting center. If the transplant center approves a donor without a CT additional blood samples may be sent with PBSC or BM once the transplant center requests them (volume, type, and number of samples should be specified). At the CT stage we also check the donor for the presence of COVID-19 and for contacts with infected persons. In case of positive detection the donor will be delayed for 3 months after recovery; the donor, who was in contact with a COVID-19 positive person will be delayed for 28 days.
- Workup: Work-up is possible once the donor gives consent and does not experience travel restrictions. At the WU stage we also check the donor for the presence of COVID-19 and for contacts with infected persons. In case of positive detection, the donor will be delayed for 3 months after recovery; the donor, who was in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, will be delayed for 28 days.
- Collection: Collection is possible if the donor is not limited to travel to the collection center. BM collection is possible if an operating room is available. PBSC collection is possible. However much will depend on the particular case.
- Important! Each donor will be tested for COVID-19 during the final cleanup phase. However there will be substantial risk of donor infection during the period of G-CSF mobilization or immediately before donation of PBSC or bone marrow. Therefore we recommend that transplant centers do not start conditioning until the collection center harvests a donor product. Once we are not sure that the donor product will be delivered to the transplant center within 72 hours, a preliminary discussion with the transplant center and the collection center on freezing the donor product immediately after collection will be necessary.
- Transport of BM/PBSC: Possible for national patients. For international patients – a preliminary discussion is necessary in each case. The time:matters company will transport the product.
Singapore Bone Marrow Donor Programme (ION-3785)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/TxRcAQ
- June 8: Singapore Ministry of Health has issued an advisory on HSCT during this COVID-19 period. In line with the advisory, BMDP has implemented the following guideline to assess our donors for medical suitability for donation. All donors are now required to be tested for COVID-19 before the donation. Please note that additional fees for this COVID-19 test will apply.
- Donors with history of COVID-19 infection: defer collection for 3 months from recovery/resolution of symptoms
- Donors had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days: defer collection for 28 days after donors's last contact with person with confirmed COVID-19 infection
- Donors with household members who have had contact with confirmed COVID-19 case in the last 14 days: Defer collection for 28 days after donor’s household members last contact with person with confirmed COVID-19 infection
- Donors who are under quarantine order (QO), Stay-Home Notice (SHN), Leave-Of-Absence (LOA) or equivalent: Defer collection for 28 days after the last day of QO/SHN/LOA
- For all donors
- Donors should not travel outside of Singapore for at least 14 days before planned donation.
- PBSC Donors: Nasal swab COVID-19 test 2-3 days before GCSF
- BM Donors: Nasal swab COVID-19 test 2-3 days before BM
- If donor is tested positive for COVID-19, defer donation for 3 months from recovery/resolution of symptoms.All Donors: Ensure donors are free of respiratory symptoms for at least 14 days before planned donation.
South Africa South African Bone Marrow Registry (ION-8118)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/bRRcAQ
- Update September 18: SABMR COVID-19 update_18 September_Final.pdf
The SABMR notes the updated COVID-19 restrictions announced by the South African Government as of 16 September 2020 which currently places us in level 1. South Africa's borders will reopen for inbound and outbound international flights from 01 October 2020. Only three airports will open to foreign travellers: Johannesburg (OR Tambo International Airport), Cape Town (Cape Town International Airport), Durban (King Shaka International Airport). Travel to and from certain countries may remain restricted and travellers will have to present, on arrival, a negative coronavirus test less than 72 hrs old. If they do not do so they will remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost. Everyone arriving will be screened, and those who show any symptoms of COVID-19 will also be required to stay in quarantine until they test negave for the virus again. Travellers will be asked to install the South African Government’s contact alert app.
- Extended Typing (ET) and Verification Typing / Confirmatory Typing (VT / CT) requests: The SABMR will accept all ET and VT/CT requests and these will be processed as usual. The SABMR remains committed to the safety of our donors and will adhere to the WMDA guidelines
- Medical Examination and Stem Cell Collection of donors: The SABMR will accept all requests for donor work up and stem cell procurement as usual by following WMDA recommendations.
International donors currently in work-up: This will be dealt with on a case by case basis in collaboration with both the foreign Registry and local Transplant Centre. We expect to have more clarity about flight schedules and the availability of flights after the South African Government announces the official list outlining which countries may be restricted from entry into South Africa. These aspects will determine the SABMR’s ability to procure fresh stem cell products from international donors. While many SABMR staff continue to work remotely and in the office, diligent efforts continue to provide transplant centres with safe and reliable stem cell products for their patients within the required timeframe. Please don’t hesitate to contact the SABMR should you require more information.
- International Family Assistance: The SABMR will accept requests but this will be dependent on the restrictions imposed on the patient’s country of residence/treatment as well as the donor’s country of origin restrictions.
- The SABMR staff have been slowly returning to the office while some still continue to work remotely. We anticipate all staff back full time in the office around November dependent on the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. The SABMR will continue to work diligently to provide transplant centres with safe and reliable stem cell products for their patients within the required timeframe. Please don’t hesitate to contact the SABMR should you require more information.
Spain Registro de Donantes de Médula Ósea (REDMO) (ION-7813)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/fRRcAQ
Update July 12:
As of today our transplant centres are being encouraged to schedule fresh infusions again. This means that in those cases where transport is reliable, they won´t be planning a cryopreservation upon arrival of the product anymore. For those cases in which cryopreservation of the product might still be needed, we would inform you about the procedure and our transplant centres have been asked to schedule the beginning of the conditioning regimen during the first 72hrs after reception of the product. We hope this new strategy is more consequent with the current state of the pandemic and we really hope the situation stays stable and favorable for our patients and donors.
Verification Typing: from 15.06.2020 it will be possible to request VT blood samples from all Spanish Donors. We will continue to perform the HAC including COVID-19 risk factors.
Transport: most Courier-Companies can make door to door transport of products, so that there is actually very little need of hand-over at the airports.
COVID-19 screening: our National Health Authorities keep on strongly recommending COVID-19 PCR screening of all stem cell donors, so that we will continue to perform the test in all our donors.
Sweden Tobias Registry Sweden Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-5285)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/display/WMDAREG/Operational+Information+ION-5285#/
- Update March 27: The registry stays operational for all activities. Staff can work from home or will be at the office. You will always be able to reach us by e-mail using: email@example.com
- Donors is routinely asked if they have any flu-like symptoms.
- Donors are advised to follow the safety measures from the Swedish Government and health care authority. There are no travel restrictions within Sweden.
- We accept that products are cryopreserved.
- In response to the European Council’s and the European Commission’s call for travel restrictions, the Government decided on 17 March to temporarily stop non-essential travel to Sweden so as to mitigate the effects of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and reduce the spread of the disease but persons with a creditable purpose are allowed to enter. Medicine is considered a creditable purpose. The registry will provide documentation for the courier to show at the border that will allow them to travel to the Transplant Center or Collection Center. The documentation will be handled to the TC and the courier and it include a 24/7 phone number for the border police to confirm the purpose of the courier, if needed.
Switzerland Blutspende SRK Schweiz (Swiss Blood Stem Cells) (ION-9341)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/mxRcAQ
- Update July 3:
The Swiss blood stem cell transplant activity is working under nearly normal conditions, on the patient side as well as on the donor side. However, we are also impacted by the restrictive measures that affect both courier travels and donor selection policies. We are now coming back to our offices, but several staff members may still work partially remote.
In order to prevent any risk of harm to the recipients, our medical committee maintains its recommendation to accept all requests for cryopreservation by national and international transplant centers . This will allow the transplant centers to cryopreserve the products upon receipt and to start the conditioning regimen only after safe arrival of the product. From 01.07.2020 onwards, Swiss transplant centers will request cryopreservation of the product on a case by case basis, depending on the current local situation (spread of the virus in the corresponding country, donor situation, etc.). We will inform you accordingly.
Concerning Swiss donors, we have defined specific donor selection policies, including testing, in order to minimise the risks for the donors themselves and for the recipients as far as possible. We will perform a Health & Availability Check (HAV) in the cases, where we are not able to perform a blood draw, however our priority process remains to perform a regular CT/VT including the collection of blood samples.
Border control: Switzerland has opened the borders for the Schengen-members but with effect from Monday, 6th July, travelers entering Switzerland from certain regions will have to go into quarantine for ten days. The FOPH (Ministry of Health) has a list of the countries concerned, which it updates regularly (https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/empfehlungen/empfehlungen-fuer-reisende.html). Travelers affected will be notified during the flight, on board coaches and at border crossings. They will have to register with the cantonal authorities on arrival. Airlines and travel companies will also be instructed not to transport sick passengers. The Swiss Registry is holding an additional authorization for the import and export of blood stem cells (06.07.2020 authorization Corona BAG) especially for the COVID-19 situation (Import/Export of DLIs) and we will hand over this authorization for the cases where the Swiss registry is involve (national patients/donors and international donors/patients) in order that courier staff does not has to go into quarantine.
Masks are compulsory on all public transport from 6th July.
We are grateful for your collaboration in helping us to maintain our blood stem cell transplant activity. We remain at your disposal for any kind of inquiries concerning this topic (firstname.lastname@example.org / emergency calls: +41 31 380 81 01.
Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center - BTCSCC (ION-3458)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/qxRcAQ
- Information in Chinese (find below the English Translation)
- Update June 23:
During the period of the serious COVID-19 outbreak, BTCSCC maintains its stem cell donations as the usual process but follows the policies declared by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan.
To prevent the risk of non-related donors and recipients from getting an infection by COVID-19 while the Central Epidemic Command Center is still serving (before the risk of the infection is dismissed), the measures taken by BTCSCC are as follows:
- To clarify the risk of infection on donors, BTCSCC will survey the donors at CT and Work Up sages. If the donors have related symptoms, history of contact with COVID-19 cases or have been exposed to the risk area, the donation process on the donors will be deferred for 2 to 3 weeks. The TC will be notified once an ineligibility or deferral is determined.
At the donors’ work up stage, travel history of the donors will be revealed by the national health insurance system. The work up will be postponed once a related medical history, symptoms or any adverse sign on the donors’ chest imaging are observed. And the TC will be notified as soon as possible.
- BTCSCC will survey the donors 14 days before the collections to determine if they are at the risk of a COVID-19 infection.
BTCSCC staff will call and perform a health survey on the donation candidate every two weeks to see if there is any abnormal symptom.
BTCSCC will also survey the donors 14 days after the collections to determine if the donors are at the risk of COVID-19 infection and notify the TC as the supportive information for clinical purposes.
The TC should arrange a pick up date based on Dh (Day harvest) instead of Day0 with BTCSCC in the future. Dh may change and the product may not be able to arrive at the TC on the scheduled date due to flight changes or border closures. Please start the conditioning therapy or myeloablative conditioning therapy of the recipient after the arrivals of the products. And the product should be cryopreserved prior to the completion of the therapy. This strategy is to ensure the safety of the recipients in this rapidly changing epidemic situation.
All the registries or the TCs should confirm the flight schedules and the regulations for epidemic prevention of both import and export countries before arranging the pick-up date of the products to ensure the process of the donation is smooth and timely.
Using dry shipper, BTCSCC provides cryopreserved product of PBSCs and lymphocytes. For further information please contact coordinators of BTCSCC.
TC must report the product receipt form to BTCSCC in order to understand the status of the product and its recipient.
Thailand Thai National Stem Cell Donor Registry - TSCDR (ION-8362)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/wxRcAQ
- Update July 7: TSCDR operation during COVID-19
- Search: TSCDR accept search request from transplant centres and registries as usual without restriction
- CT and WU requests: TSCDR has implemented COVID-19 donor eligibility criteria according to WMDA recommendation. Additional COVID-19 infection risk information have been required from donor as following, 1) risk of infection from working area such as airport staff, tour guide, airport staff, tour guide, medical staff etc. 2) risk of infection from close contact to infected person or person who come back from high risk countries 3) participate in activities with a lot of people or big communities. Donor who have above risk will be requested for temporary deferral for at least 28 days. Donor who pass medical assessment must be educated to quarantine themselves for protective COVID-19 infection before collection and must notify TSCDR if they found any symptoms related to COVID-19 infection during 14 days after collection. Some of collection centers are COVID-19 treatment centers affect decreasing collection facilities then the collection schedules may be delay.
- Transportation of blood samples: TSCDR do not find the delay of blood samples transportation with FedEx. Some donors may be requested to quarantine for 14 days that affect delay sample shipment schedule.
- Travel restrictions: The Government of Thailand has announced the Notification on Conditions for Aircraft Permission to Enter Thailand (No.2) on 2nd July 2020 affect the available flights for passengers coming to Thailand. Then cryopreservation of stem cell product was required and shipped by cargo flights.
- Search: TSCDR accept search request from transplant centres and registries as usual without restriction
Turkey - TRAN and TRIS (ION-5509 and ION-3893)
- Update March 20: INFORMATION TRAN and TRIS would like to inform that as of today 14/03/2020, the Turkish Ministry of Health has decided to require all returning passengers (citizens and non-citizens) from all to adhere to a 14-day quarantine from their entry into Turkey. These provisions mean that foreign couriers will not be able to enter the country. It is also very likely that the frequency of flights to and from Turkey will decrease significantly in the coming days. TRIS and TRAN working very hard with competent authorities to find suitable solutions for each transport during next week, and we are in close contact with the relevant registries. However, due to this difficult situation, we can no longer guarantee a safe arrival of the product in the coming weeks.
- Search: TRIS and TRAN accepts search request from transplant centres and registries as usual, without any restrictions.
- Confirmatory Typing: Requests will be accepted as usual, but collection of a new blood sample for confirmatory typing has become more difficult day by day. Testing of provided samples are still in progress. For foreign registries, we suggest to request for on-site CT instead of requesting for a blood sample.
- Workup Requests: We will not be able to collect any cell product during this period. We are trying to complete the scheduled ones but we will not accept any WU request in this period.
- Transport of HPC collected on international donors: Most flights have been cancelled, so it is even more difficult to organize the transports of HPCs. We would suggest to arrive in Istanbul airport and we may assist with our courier in order to have the handover of the product directly at the airport.
- As March 19 The government close the air connection with 22 countries and close 3 borders. This countries are: China, Iran, Italy, Iraq, South Korea, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria, Egypt, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Bulgaria. The closed borders are with Iraq, Iran and Georgia. In this condition we can no longer guarantee a safe arrival of any blood sample in the coming weeks.
- Postpone donation: According to the novel coronavirus – guidance of WMDA, it is recommended to postpone donation in case of donors coming from risk area, or contacting with confirmed case, or with history of COVID-19 infection.
- Please contact in case of an emergency situation:
- TRAN: email@example.com, Gamze Ceylan : firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +90 03125082374, mobile :+90 0505 966 6813, Ayfer Tarla Burucu: email@example.com Tel: +90 0312 508 2444 Mobile. +90 0533 623 73 69
- TRIS: Kibankinfo@istanbul.edu.tr Fatma Oguz MD PhD Tel: +90 212 414 20 00/ 32461 Mobile:0090 532 3737035
United Kingdom, Anthony Nolan (ION-6354)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/7RRcAQ
- Update May 22: On Friday 22nd May the UK government announced new measures at the UK borders to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections, effective from 8th June. They include 14 days’ self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a short list of exemptions. The exemptions include certain medical staff and we expect that this will include medical couriers. We have been in regular contact with the UK Department of Health and Social Care and are awaiting confirmation of what, if any, additional paperwork will be required for couriers entering the UK from 8th June onwards.
- Update July 29:
- Search: Anthony Nolan is accepting search requests from transplant centres and registries as usual
- VT requests: Requests will be accepted as usual and we are procuring blood samples . All donors are asked about travel history, upcoming travel and exposure to COVID-19. Donors will deferred as per guidelines.
- Workup requests: All donors are asked about travel history, upcoming travel and exposure to COVID-19. Donors will deferred as per guidelines, but donation can be considered if the transplant is urgent, there is no other donor available and the donor is well, with no symptoms. We are in the process of securing access to COVID-19 testing for at-risk donors in the UK. UK guidance to transplant centres now recommends considering cryopreservation for all collections.
- Transport: New regulations on entering the UK, due to coronavirus (COVID-19), came into effect on 7th July 2020 and apply to both residents and non-residents. These regulations mean that visitors:
- Will need to provide journey and contact details prior to travelling to the UK, via the Public Health passenger locator form: https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/public-health-passenger-locator-form
- Will be required to “self-isolate” (i.e. not be allowed to leave the place they are staying) for the first 14 days they are in the UK, except in very limited situations or where country exceptions apply (from 10th July 2020 and subject to change). International stem cell couriers (both importing and exporting) are exempt from this self-isolation period and will be provided with a letter stating this prior to travel by the organising registry.
Anthony Nolan staff are now predominantly working from home, but there is no change to our contact information or service to international registries.
United Kingdom British Bone Marrow Registry (ION-2731)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/display/WMDAREG/ION-2731#/
- Update April 17:
- Search: We are continuing to accept search requests from transplant centres and registries as usual.
- VT requests: For all new requests after the 13th April, we will only draw blood samples under a limited set of circumstances. We will contact the donor to assess their health status, availability and willingness to donate. If the donor is available, we will ask if you would like us to carry out any additional HLA from stored DNA. If DNA is unavailable, we will only bleed the donor (to provide you with a VT sample and for IDM testing) if the donor’s HLA is of a poor quality (which we define as a less than second field resolution at HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1 and –DQB1). Where we are unable to provide samples, you will be able to request this at work-up.
- ET requests: For all new requests after the 13th April, we will only carry out extended typing from stored DNA. If this is not available, we will not draw a sample from the donor.
- Workup requests:We accept such requests as normal. If a donor has had a suspected COVID-19 infection, the current UK guidelines recommend waiting for three months after symptoms abate before commencing with G-CSF injections – this period can possibly be reduced in urgent cases. Please request PBSC donations rather than BMH where possible, We continue to accept lymphocyte requests, but we will prioritise access to apheresis slots for PBSC donations. As at the 13th April, we have COVID-19 testing available at one of our Collection Centres and expect to have this for all of them by the end of April – please ask for the current status. All exported products will be transferred to the Handover Hub (run by our esteemed colleagues at Anthony Nolan) for handover to your courier at London Heathrow airport. UK guidance to transplant centres now recommends considering cryopreservation for all collections; if necessary, we can arrange to cryopreserve at our Collection Centre then ship.
United Kingdom Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ION-6354)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/display/WMDAREG/ION-1726#/
- Update June 8:
- From 8thJune the UK government has introduced a 14 day quarantine period for any person entering the UK. There is an exemptions to this rule that allows imported stem cells to continue to be brought into the UK by the designated courier and allows travel directly to the WBMDR to handover as usual. However for stem cells leaving the UK there is no current exemption for the courier to enter and travel to receive the cells. In these cases the WBMDR will use the ‘Handover HUB’ at Heathrow airport for the export of stem cells.
- Update April 16:
- Search: The WBMDR is continuing to accepting search requests from transplant centres and registries as usual.
- VT requests:In line with public health guidance on social distancing and to safe guard donors whilst ensuring that donor selection standards are met, the WBMDR has implemented a new algorithm for the provision of blood samples at CT. The ability of the donor to provide blood samples will be determined on a case by case basis and every effort will be made to provide a blood sample from those donors who are CMV negative or unknown. However, if a donor is unwilling / unable to give blood samples due to ‘social distancing’ measures the WBMDR can perform a health screening and availability questionnaire. Donors will then be required to give blood samples to test Infectious disease markers if they are chosen as the primary donor before stem cell collection.
- Workup requests:To clarify risk of infection WBMDR donor screening questionnaires have been extended to include questions relating to donor history of contact with COVID-19, symptoms, travel risks and vulnerable persons living with the donor (JPAC guidelines). The transplant centre will be notified immediately of any perceived risks. COVID-19 testing of WBMDR donors will take place at pre-collection (medical assessment) and on day of collection in response to updated NICE and EBMT guidance.
- Transport:For import of stem cells for Welsh Patients: The WBMDR uses an approved international courier. Many countries have already approved entry and exit of these specific couriers into their respective countries. Restrictions in air travel to and from countries is being updated daily and we are working with our UK Aligned Registry partners to determine the best method for ensuring we can transport stem cells to Heathrow and outside of the country. The WBMDR is in the process of updating its HTA license to include the import and export of cryopreserved cells. This will require the WBMDR to extend its existing process for assessment of international to include stem cell processing laboratories.
- Cryopreservation of products: Patients should not begin pre-transplant preparative regimens until the cells have arrived at the requesting transplant centre. In the majority of cases cells will be transported fresh for cryopreservation by the requesting transplant centre. Cells may then be stored for a quarantine period of 7 days to ensure that the donor is not infected with COVID-19. Cryopreservation at the collection centre will only be performed in exceptional circumstances where transport of fresh cells is not possible due to transit times exceeding 72 hours.
United States Be The Match-NMDP Registry (ION-3553)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/QxVcAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
We are continually updating our Frequently Asked Questions. Access the FAQs for your center type.
- Update August 19:
For Transplant Centers and Cooperative Registries
Update for International Partners: Buccal Swab Collection and Shipment for CT
If you require buccal swabs from a U.S. donor to be sent to an international lab for CT testing, please be aware you will be charged the applicable shipping fees listed on the fee schedule. The package price of $750 for the buccal swab collection and shipment and ABO/Rh and CMV testing is valid for shipment to a domestic lab. Access additional details.
- Update July 22:
Product Transport Timelines and Itineraries From Northern EU Countries
Many of our transplant center partners have contacted us with questions and feedback about product transport times and the timeframe for receiving itineraries for products coming from certain EU countries. We want to ensure you have the information you need to better anticipate the infusion day (or day 0) and make informed decisions on fresh versus cryopreserved products for your patients. We are using a hub-and-spoke transport method to provide a consistent way to import products from certain EU countries. Product transport using this model takes a median of 53 hours from pickup to delivery. You will receive product itineraries approximately one week prior to product collection because flight schedules are not available until that time. We anticipate using the hub-and-spoke model through the end of the calendar year, if not longer. Access additional details on the countries impacted and how the hub-and-spoke method works.
- Update July 17:
Reminder: Complete and Verify Patient’s HLA Typing Before Final Donor Selection
On July 13, the WMDA issued a rapid alert after receiving three reports of serious incidents that occurred because final donor selection occurred before the patient’s extended or verification typing had been performed. With the start of patient conditioning being delayed with the use of cryopreserved product, there is an increased risk that final checks of the patient’s eligibility are also delayed. The NMDP/Be The Match endorses the WMDA’s recommendation that the patient’s HLA-typing is completed and verified before final donor selection. In addition, the donor should not start the donation procedure until the transplant center has confirmed final donor section and confirmed the patient’s eligibility for the scheduled transplant. Access the WMDA’s full alert and recommendations.
Training Session: Donor Center Responsibilities After Cryo Requirement is Relaxed
The NMDP/Be The Match is relaxing the requirement for cryopreservation for collections scheduled on or after Aug. 10. That means our donor center partners will have an important role in assessing and communicating if a donor is at risk for not being able to proceed to collection so transplant centers can make informed decisions about receiving a fresh product or making plans for cryopreservation. To ensure you have the guidance and tools to conduct these assessments, we are holding a training session for our donor center partners on Wednesday, July 22, at 1 p.m. CDT. The session will be recorded for those who are unable to attend. Register for the training.
- Update July 9:
Transplant centers may request a fresh product infusion for collections scheduled on or after Aug. 10, 2020. We actively monitor the situation daily and this decision was made based on evolving domestic and global scenarios, as well as feedback from our Network partners. We continue to believe there are scenarios in which a cryopreserved product may still be the safest option for your patient. However, there are also scenarios in which cryopreservation may not be necessary based on review of specific risk-based conditions. In early June, we released a survey to our Network partners to assess the factors to be considered prior to relaxing the cryopreservation requirement that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey confirmed our sense that the most important factors affecting confidence in being able to deliver fresh products on the requested date include:
- Resumption of passenger flights into and out of the U.S.
- Low daily flight cancellation rate
- Network stability based on an assessment of apheresis and collection center availability per week
Because these conditions are now being met in many circumstances, not all products will require cryopreservation after collection. Case Managers will work with transplant centers to assess whether a product should be cryopreserved or infused fresh. Factors for consideration include:
- The donor’s registry
- Geographic location of the donor and associated risk of contracting COVID-19
- Apheresis or collection center policies on testing asymptomatic donors for COVID-19 or regional/national policies that require testing
- Any other donor factors that may impact the risk of a fresh product delivery to you
The ultimate responsibility for patient care and safety rests with the transplant center. Transplant centers are urged to discuss the relative risk with their teams and patients prior to requesting a product be delivered for fresh infusion. If the risks are deemed too high by the Case Manager or transplant center, we will continue to arrange for cryopreservation prior to the initiation of conditioning. Product delivery cannot be absolutely guaranteed on day zero and therefore, whether planning for a fresh or cryopreserved product, transplant centers should have a backup plan and communicate that plan to their Case Manager. The health and safety of patients and donors remains our top priority. As the COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves, we will continue to assess risk factors and make changes as necessary.
As COVID-19 hotspots continue to be reported around the U.S., questions have been raised regarding the safety of transplanting NMDP/Be The Match products collected from a donor who tests positive or develops COVID-19 symptoms after donation. While virus RNA has been detected in the blood of a minority of patients with COVID-19, there is currently no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted via blood or stem cell products. We believe the likelihood of viral transmission to recipients from these products is low, but there are not enough cases yet to say this with certainty. Ultimately the decision to transplant or withhold these products is best left to the discretion of the transplant team following a discussion with the patient and a thorough review of the risk/benefit ratio.
- Current practices and recommendations: As has been our practice, we do not to collect product from a known positive donor. This is in line with current ASTCT and EBMT guidelines, which recommend against the use of donors testing positive for COVID-10 prior to donation. However, these guidelines do not currently address the use of products collected from asymptomatic donors who subsequently test positive within 14 days of donation. The NMDP/Be The Match and other organizations, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and AABB, do not currently recommend or require product testing or product quarantine upon arrival to the transplant center. According to the FDA, there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19. Additionally, no cases of transfusion-transmission were ever reported for the other two coronaviruses that emerged in the past two decades: SARS (the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) and MERS-CoV (which causes Mideast Respiratory Syndrome).
Reported cases of donor COVID-19 diagnosis post donation: We recently became aware of two cases where products were collected and cryopreserved from donors who tested positive for COVID-19 within 2 weeks of donation. Both donors were asymptomatic at the time of donation. One center decided to withhold the product. The other center made the decision to transplant the product. To our knowledge, neither product was tested directly for the presence of virus. At this time, we do not have any clinical information from the patient who received the product. Additionally, there is a case report from Thailand in which a bone marrow product was collected from a sibling donor who was positive the day prior to bone marrow harvest. The product was transplanted without subsequent clinical sequelae. We are not aware of other instances.
Screening donors for COVID-19 before and after donation: As a reminder, we are taking steps to avoid collecting PBSC or marrow from donors who have COVID-19 or may be at risk for contracting the disease. We continue to perform a screening questionnaire on donors prior to donation at the confirmatory typing, held for workup and workup stages. If a donor tests positive for COVID-19 prior to donation, the donor will be made temporarily unavailable for a minimum of 30 days with reevaluation at the end of that period. After donation, we contact donors at regular intervals, including 2 days post, 1 week post, 1 month post and in-between as needed.
- Continue to Reserve Requests for Bone Marrow for Patients in Greatest Need
Some health care organizations are starting to do more outpatient surgical procedures as states begin to ease some COVID-19 restrictions. However, securing bone marrow harvest slots will continue to be extremely difficult as health care organizations have a backlog of surgeries. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to have only a limited number of bone marrow slots available to us.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are continually updating our Frequently Asked Questions. Access the FAQs for your center type.
United States Gift of Life Registry (ION-1033)
- Registry operational information available on: https://share.wmda.info/x/IRVcAQ
- Update 27 March: Gift of Life has made the following procedural changes and enhancements in light of COVID-19:
- All Confirmatory Typing requests will not have a blood sample drawn for CT and IDM testing as routinely performed. Cooperative Registries will be notified of the donor availability and health history screening outcomes. In the event a transplant center wants a CT performed, we are happy to oblige by sending the donor a buccal swab kit and having it typed at a laboratory different than the original typing laboratory. The sample can be run STAT. Please notify firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a special request.
- Gift of Life is asking all transplant centers not to condition patients until after the product is received. This will require transplant centers to cryopreserve the product on receipt. In the event a transplant center is unable to cryopreserve, Gift of Life can arrange for this to be done for donors collected at the Gift of Life – Be The Match Collection Center (please check with your Gift of Life coordinator upon submission of the workup request, and we will do our best to have the donor collected at our facility). Gift of Life will then arrange for the product to be shipped in a dry shipper to the destination transplant center.
- We are especially grateful to our colleagues at Ontime Onboard Courier GmbH - especially Thilo Buerklin - for making courier transport miracles happen! Thank you to the entire registry and transplant community – and to the WMDA office – our global community is coming together to beat this crisis and help the patients who count on us all.