Shortage of rare plasmas at blood transfusion centers

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There is a shortage of rare blood groups, including Rhesus-negative types. Under the new rules, plasma is quarantined for three months in order to avoid HIV and other infectious diseases from donor's blood. Doctors say there has been an increase in defective blood due to infections.

During this three-month quarantine, donors are checked once again to verify whether their blood is contaminated or not. This has led to a situation when blood transfusion centers do not have all the necessary types of plasma.

Officials at the blood transfusion center of the health ministry told the European Radio for Belarus there is a deficit of plasma across the capital.

“There is a problem with the plasma in the whole city, because it is now quarantined for three months. We are banned from giving out blood for three months due to infections: HIV, Hepatitis, syphilis”.

Zbyshak Pabtgarzhyn, the chief doctor at the blood transfusion center in Minsk, told the European Radio for Belarus that it was an order from the Health Ministry. It was caused by the following incident.

“There was one case in Salihorsk or Svetlahorsk several years ago. A recipient was given donor’s blood. When the donor was examined once again, he was found to be HIV positive. In fact, when the donor came to give blood, our machines did not detect the virus, because that man had not yet produced antibodies which our machine could see”, Pabyarzhyn said.

There is no plasma at blood stations, because all of them began fulfilling the order simultaneously.

“The health ministry issued the order in October. But it’s not that simple (to fulfill the order), because it is expensive. One had to buy a lot of freezing equipment and prepare new spaces, air-conditioners, computer software and to train staff. It was a huge amount of work. It appears that all the blood centers began fulfilling the order simultaneously. Therefore, there is plasma diversity sometimes…”, Pabyarzhyn said.

The European Radio for Belarus asked him if there were a lot of cases when donor’s blood was infected during the repeated tests. Does infected plasma transfused often? The chief doctor said it would not be right to for him to comment and gave a vague answer.

“There is an increase in defective blood. You can make your own conclusions”.

Zbyshak Pabyarzhyn says that the shortage of some plasma types is a temporary thing. He also welcomed this new regulation. Since it can prevent even one person in the whole capital from contracting HIV, it is a good thing.