June 26, 2020
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HHS updates transplant guidance to improve safety, access to organs

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The HHS and the U.S. Public Health Service updated the solid organ transplant guidance to evaluate donors and monitor recipients for HIV, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus infections, according to a release.

The guideline highlights transplant technology advances sand safety to increase the number of available organs for transplants.

“Currently, more than 110,000 patients in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant. “Under President Trump, HHS has made it a priority to expand access to lifesaving organ transplants,” Alex Azar, HHS Secretary, said in the release. “Updating our transplant guidelines to match the latest science will complement the other efforts the Trump Administration is making to expand the supply of donated organs and incentivize transplants, allowing more Americans to live longer, healthier lives.”

According to the release, the guidelines recommend organ transplant recipients be given the hepatitis B vaccination. With the guidance, healthcare providers may detect infections early and begin treatment immediately according to the release.

“This is an important step forward for individuals in need of solid organ transplants,” said Robert Redfield, MD, CDC director, said in the release. “Today’s guideline is grounded in scientific evidence and advancements in testing technologies. These recommendations further expand the availability of life changing organs for those in need.”

There have been advances in accurate testing for HIV, hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infection that has helped healthcare providers determine if a potential organ donor has an infection; therefore, the risk for infection due to a transplant is very low, according to the release.

Due to COVID-19, the number of organ transplants performed in the United States has decreased; however, the number of transplants is now starting to increase.

Many federal agencies such as the CDC, USPHS, Organ Procurement and Services Administration have collaborated to provide guidance on organ donation, procurement and transplantation, according to the release. The new guidelines may increase organ use and also maintain the safety of transplant recipients.