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National Advisory Committee Blood (AK Blut)

The National Advisory Committee Blood (AK Blut) advises the federal authorities and the authorities of the Federal States on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, blood products and cells for transfusion as laid down in the Transfusion Act. This includes advice on microbiological safety, emerging pathogens, donor selection, and standards for training in transfusion medicine.

The committee takes into account the need to maintain adequate supplies of blood and blood products of appropriate quality. It evaluates the efficacy of transfusion interventions, including the introduction of new safety measures or their reduction. AK Blut identifies where research is most urgently required. Finally, the potential impact of its advice on both donors and recipients is considered.

AK Blut was established in 1993. Its 34 unpaid members are appointed by the German Federal Ministry of Health for a three-year period. They include representatives of blood establishments, medical universities, the German Federal Chamber of Physicians, the Federal Ministry of Defence, the relevant scientific societies, the pharmaceutical industries, authorities of the Lander and patient representatives. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, the Paul Ehrlich-Institute and the Robert Koch Institute are permanent guests without voting rights.

AK Blut holds 2 to 4 closed meetings every year. It publishes votes and statements in the journal “Bundesgesundheitblatt”. These include for instance statements on scientific evidence for the change of donor deferral criteria or recommendations on new challenges in transfusion medicine like the use of convalescent plasma. Furthermore, AK Blut compiles elaborate statements on transfusion relevant pathogens which are regularly published in English in “Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy”.

The executive secretariat of the AK Blut is a staff unit of the RKI president’s office. The main task of the secretariat is the preparation and the documentation of form and contents of the meetings. The work includes the compilation of scientific evidence for the topics and resolutions of the committee. Members of the secretariat also provide their personal expertise in subgroups which prepare the recommendations. The secretariat drafts and supports the votes and recommendations and is responsible for their publication. Additionally, they respond to all requests from the public, scientific experts and the media. Together with the chairperson, they present the work of AK Blut at scientific meetings. The secretariat is also responsible for the adherence to the terms of reference of AK Blut and provides interpretation in case of doubt.

Date: 14.06.2016