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Blood Stocks

Volume 87: debated on Tuesday 26 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) for what length of time blood stocks may be banked without detriment;(2) what percentage of blood taken from donors is stored at very low temperatures; and whether the vectors of venereal diseases and AIDS are eliminated under these storage conditions.

The length of time for which fresh blood and red cell components may be kept for transfusion purposes depends upon the type of anti-coagulant additive used; this can extend shelf life up to 35 days.Red cell components of blood may be frozen and stored at very low temperatures, with a shelf life of several years. This procedure is very expensive and is used by the national blood transfusion service only in respect of very rare blood groups. Stocks kept represent less than 0·1 per cent. of the 2·5 million donations collected each year.Very low temperature storage is employed only to ensure the availability of sufficient stocks of very rare blood groups: it will not prevent transmission of infection. All donations are routinely screened for HTLV III antibody and syphilis.