As a result of the increased incidence of COVID-19 in Australia, EBAANZ has upgraded this risk of COVID-19 from low to medium.
EBAANZ recommends that donor deferrals based on travel history be expanded as follows:
- All donors who have a history of international travel in the past four weeks will be excluded for four weeks.
The following deferrals remain in place:
- Donors who have had close contact with a known or suspected COVID-19 case will be excluded for four weeks from the time of contact; and
- Donors who have been infected with COVID-19 will be excluded from donation for three months after recovery from the virus.
These measures are consistent with the measures taken by the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.
- EBAANZ advises against eye banks instituting routine testing for COVID-19 for the following reasons:
- Access to screening kits are currently restricted in Australia and use of these kits should not be diverted for testing of deceased ocular tissue donors;
- These screening kits have been developed in-house and are not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA);
- The results of testing in deceased patients (non-intact circulation) have not been assessed and therefore the results are unreliable; and
- There are difficulties in both obtaining samples from deceased patients (non-intact circulation), and in providing training in the taking of samples.
In addition, EBAANZ considers that risk of transmission of SARS‐CoV‐2 is relatively unlikely. As such, donor screening and exclusions based on the above criteria are likely to be sufficient.
Therapeutic Goods Administration Notifications
EBAANZ recommends that eye banks continue to update the TGA regarding any changes they make in respect of surveillance, donor exclusions or testing. In addition, eye banks should ensure that they record/document their response to the pandemic.
EBAANZ will continue to monitor the situation and inform members of changes as they occur. For further information please contact EBAANZ via: firstname.lastname@example.org