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Blood Rev. 2003 Jun;17(2):111-22.

Safety of the blood supply: role of pathogen reduction.

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  • 1Laboratory Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, Director, Blood Bank & Apheresis Service, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT 06504-1001, USA.


Even though the blood supply is very safe, the risk of transfusion transmitted disease is not zero. To improve the safety of the blood supply, pathogen reduction (PR) technology has been developed. The principle of most current PR strategies involves modifying DNA or RNA templates and making them inaccessible to DNA or RNA polymerase. Several platforms of pathogen reduction are available including psoralens, alkylating compounds, binary ethyleneimine-like compounds, riboflavin, methylene blue, and solvent-detergent treatment. PR systems have been designed for RBC, plasma, and platelets. PR technology has been found to be effective for a variety of pathogens including lipid-enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, bacteria and parasites. Pre-clinical studies and Phase III clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety of these PR technologies are currently ongoing.

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