Cryolife’s Laboratory’s Operation Protocol during COVID-19

In reply to commonly asked questions from our clients, we are pleased to share the following Q&A:

 

1. If a laboratory staff is infected by COVID-19, will the virus be transmitted to the cord blood during processing? 

Technically yes there would be a possible transmission if a Lab staff is being infected with heavy load COVID-19 virus during sample processing. In view of this risk, all our lab and office staff need to conduct self-Rapid Antigen Test every morning before they return to work. All recorded negative results must be sent to HR for official record before they reach office/lab. As additional precautions, all returned Cord Blood Sample’s packaging will be thoroughly disinfected at the receiving and sample registration bay before proceeding to the lab for sample processing.

During the sample processing period, the whole practice will be done in biosafety cabinet (protecting the sample) in a close system processing bag set.  All lab staff will wear protective measures (PPE) during the whole sample processing period.  With all these proactive precautionary and preventative measures, the chances of having our client’s cord blood sample being infected during sample processing are extremely slim.

 

2. If the cord blood is not infected but the surface of the blood bag is infected, will the entire tank be infected by COVID-19? 

All returned Cord Blood’s packing from hospital will be thoroughly disinfected at the receiving and sample registration bay to ensure safe processing in biosafety cabinet thereafter. Additionally, all processed Cord Blood storage bags are being overwrapped before they are finally being placed inside the storage tanks for long term cryopreservation. If in the unfortunate event that the storage bag of the processed Cord Blood is contaminated with COVID-19, the overwrapping of storage bags plus the vapor nitrogen will specifically protects frozen cord blood samples from any infections or bacteria. Additionally, at -190C, COVID-19 or any other virus, cannot infect the contents of the tank.

 

3. What are Cryolife staff’s current preventative measures for COVID-19?

Besides daily disinfecting and sanitizing our office and lab facilities, all our staff will need to perform Self-Rapid Antigen Test daily prior to returning to office with negative results. Additionally, we update our Emergency Plan and Lab Operation Protocols accordingly base on Hong Kong’s government latest guideline on preventative and follow up protocols for COVID-19.

 

4. Can COVID-19 be passed to a patient in a cord blood transplant? 1

There are no known reports of coronavirus transmission in a transplant. In fact, there has never been a documented case in which any kind of respiratory virus has been transmitted to a patient by implantation, transplantation, infusion or other transfer of cells or tissues.

 

Reference:

1. Answers to Questions about the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Banking of Cord Blood and Birthing Tissues, Cord Blood Association, accessed 10 March 2022, <https://cord.memberclicks.net/answers-to-questions-about-banking-during-the-coronavirus>