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WMDA Begins Service for Unit Selection

The World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) has established a Cord Blood Selection Support Service to assist transplant centers that need urgent help because of problems finding a suitable and available unrelated adult stem cell donor.

"Cord blood may be a good alternative if there are complications in the search process, as cord blood is quickly available, was collected before the COVID-19 outbreak and can be shipped by cargo flights or by driver," the association said.

The WMDA maintains a web page with regular updates on the coronavirus impact for health care professionals, registries and transportation companies.

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Get WMDA updates

Alternative Suggested for Donor Collections

The National Marrow Donor Program/BeTheMatch has advised transplant centers that cord blood may be an alternative when a donor facility or donor decides to not immediately proceed with a marrow or peripheral blood collection.

"Cord blood units are readily available for use, lack the inherent donor issues related to infection or exposure to the coronavirus, and are not limited by travel restrictions," the advisory said.

The NMDP also said that, while not required, a cord blood bank may consider quarantining units collected from maternal donors because of the mother's recent travel history, and may recontact the maternal donor 28 days after donation to ensure the absence of a respiratory illness.

The NMDP maintains a web page with regular updates on the coronavirus impact for its network members.

See NMDP updates

Accrediting Agencies Adjust Deadlines and Site Visits

The Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) has extended by six months the accreditation renewal deadlines for cord blood banks.

On-site inspections scheduled through June 30 have been postponed. But, to the extent possible, accredited banks should continue to submit required compliance reports and documents.

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AABB has suspended cord blood bank site assessments for an indefinite period and has created a coronavirus resources page on its website.

The organization, which also accredits community blood banks, is urging blood donations because of a critical shortage for patients who need transfusions for chronic conditions and trauma.

Visit resources page

FDA Advisory for Handling Human Cells and Tissue

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an advisory on the coronavirus pandemic for facilities that handle and process human cell, tissue or cellular- or tissue-based products.

The agency noted that respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by implantation, transplantation, infusion or other transfer of cells or tissues. There have been no reported cases of coronavirus transmission by these products

See FDA advisory
Access CDC information

Warning About Unproven Stem Cell Treatments

The unfolding coronavirus pandemic is providing an alarming opportunity for the marketing of unproven and untested interventions, including unfounded claims for "stem cell"-based treatments.

A public warning about the proliferation of promotions for unproven treatments has been issued by the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT). Included are recommendations for better alternatives for individuals and families.

Get ISCT statement