Thursday, August 18, 2011

EDQM Launches New Web Page On Blood Transfusion Projects

The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) has launched a new web page highlighting its various projects in the area of blood transfusion. The page covers the growing number of important activities in this field.
The web page is designed to be a centralised forum to share information about ongoing projects. It includes details of the progress of each project, press releases, news updates on new or planned projects, relevant resolutions, the terms of reference of the different project groups, as well as links to other organisations working in this area. In addition, it lists the European Committee on Blood Transfusion (CD-P-TS) members.
Importantly, the new web page also serves as an information portal for 'Project TS057: Risk Behaviours having an impact on Blood Donor Management and Transfusion Safety'. Exclusion criteria for blood donors, especially with regard to sexual behaviours, are much debated. The present situation, involving the permanent exclusion of individuals whose behaviour places them at higher risks of acquiring severe infectious diseases that are transmissible by blood transfusion, is being questioned by citizens and by the press in terms of whether this kind of donor deferral is legal, right, appropriate, efficient and required.
Despite the testing of blood donations with highly sensitive test systems, there remains a residual risk of transfusion-transmitted infection due to donations given in the 'window' period, i.e. the time period between initial infection and its detection. This is not always recognised by the public.
As a consequence, the CD-P-TS of the EDQM, Council of Europe has appointed a working group (TS057) to monitor current practices, evaluate the scientific data and define a harmonised approach to establishing rules for donor deferral, linked to the risks attributable to sexual behaviour. The group started its work in February 2010 and will finish during autumn 2011.