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  • 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 October 23: the CDC updated the definition of close contact for COVID-19 to anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more. This means a person may meet the definition of close contact if multiple brief encounters with COVID-19-positive people add up to 15 minutes within 24 hours. Donor centers should refer to the updated CDC definition of close contact when evaluating a potential donor for occupational or social exposure risks.
  • 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. Update November 30During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working to reduce logistical challenges that put a patient’s transplant at risk. As part of this effort, we are encouraging U.S.-based transplant centers to consider U.S.-based donors first in their source selection. We are implementing this change because of increasing logistical risks and challenges due to international travel restrictions for couriers as well as anticipating additional risks as global COVID-19 cases increase. Starting Dec. 5 through the duration of the pandemic, donor search results in MatchSource® will be displayed using a pre-applied filter that shows only U.S.-based donors (including Puerto Rico). However, MatchSource users can easily remove the filter to see all U.S. and international donors. In addition, our Search Strategy team reviews every formalized search to ensure a better matched donor was not inadvertently missed. We are asking our transplant center partners to consider the increasing logistical risks if they do request an international donor. While we have been able to overcome logistical hurdles and successfully deliver every product collected, challenges can come up while the product is in transit. For example, just last week a courier encountered a COVID-19 testing requirement that had changed and required a rapid intervention to ensure the product delivery was not compromised. We anticipate additional risks for delays due to COVID-19 as global cases increase. Please know that we will always do whatever it takes to deliver product based on a transplant center’s donor selection. The MatchSource filter addresses a need to reduce risks when possible and offers a level of emergency preparedness as we continue to navigate the effects of the global pandemic.
  • 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)

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