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Red Cross Blood Services History

 

1940

Early blood processing program for relief of English war victims, called Plasma for Britain, begins under direction of Charles R. Drew, MD.

 

 

 

1941

American Red Cross begins National Blood Donor Service to collect blood for the U.S. military with Dr. Charles R. Drew, formerly of the Plasma for Britain program, as medical director.

 

1945

American Red Cross ends its World War II blood program for the military after collecting more than 13 million units.

 

1948

Red Cross begins the first nationwide blood program for civilians by opening its first collection center in Rochester, N.Y.

 

1949

The United States blood system is comprised of 1,500 hospital blood banks, 46 community blood centers, and 31 American Red Cross Regional Blood Centers.

 

1950

Red Cross becomes blood collection agency for military during Korean War.

 

1967

American National Red Cross Board of Governors receives report that National Headquarters will host a national Rare Blood Donor Registry for blood types found in less than one in 200.

 

1970's

The American Red Cross moves toward an all-volunteer blood donor program.

 

1972

Red Cross calls for national blood policy, which the federal government sets up in 1974, supporting standardized practices and an end to paid donations.

 

1985

Immediately after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licenses the first test to detect the antibody to HIV on March 3rd, Red Cross Blood Services Regions begin testing all newly donated blood.

 

1987

Red Cross opens its Holland Laboratory dedicated to biomedical research.

 

1992

Testing of donor blood for HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies (anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2) is implemented.

First National Testing Laboratory, applying standardized tests to ensure safety of Red Cross blood products, opens in Dedham, Mass. Today, the Red Cross performs approximately a dozen tests on each of more than 6 million blood donations a year in five state-of-the-art standardized national testing laboratories (NTILs).

 

2002

Nucleic acid amplification test (NAT) for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) licensed by the Food and Drug Administration.