People who lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 will now be able to donate blood in Australia after the ban was lifted today by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). It was originally put into place back in 2000 after the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (which we all know as Mad Cow Disease).
Per the ABC, Red Cross Lifeblood was told that its submission to have the ban lifted was approved by the TGA on Thursday.
Lifeblood’s Executive Director of Donor Services Cath Stone told the ABC the submission was made in 2021 and the blood bank’s team had spent more than a year providing the latest scientific evidence to the TGA to support their submission.
“Our clinical team have been working for well over 12 months now on getting the evidence to support our submission that went in only last year,” she said.
“The research has been ongoing because where we look to make changes to deferral it has to be underpinned by the latest scientific evidence.
“We’re delighted for that change to now be made.”
The changed rules for eligibility are for blood and plasma donations. It will likely come into effect later this year after Red Cross Lifeblood updates its screening procedures and donation systems.
This means that anyone who lived in the UK during the Mad Cow Disease outbreak in the 80s and 90s will soon be able to pop down to the blood bank, donate some full blood or plasma (where the red blood cells are returned to the body) and get a little delicious treat at the end.
Over in Canada, the ban on gay men, trans women, non-binary and genderqueer people who have sex with men has been lifted this week after a request was submitted last year.
The BBC reported on Thursday that people who wanted to donate and previously had to abstain from sex for three months would not be asked about their sexual orientation from September 30, but would instead be asked about their involvement in any “higher-risk sexual behaviours”.
Your move, Australia.