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Transfus Apher Sci. 2013 Oct;49(2):357-63. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2013.07.023. Epub 2013 Aug 17.

Pathogen inactivation of whole blood and red cell components: an overview of concept, design, developments, criteria of acceptability and storage lesion.

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International Consultancy in Blood Components Quality & DDR Strategy, 50 Primrose Hill Road, London NW3 3AA, UK. Electronic address:


Multilayer preventative strategies have been instituted to enhance transfusion safety for patients in need of critical blood components. Presently blood safety is at its highest levels, with the implementation of precautionary/preventative measures against vCJD, bacterial and viral contamination of the blood supply. The implementation of these strategies together with advances in automation and computerization led to significant improvements in standardisation for transfusion practices. These include validation, verification, adherence to GLP and GMP and other regulatory requirements. In most European countries, universal prestorage leukodepletion is routine practice. In France proactive pathogen inactivation treatments [PITs] have been implemented emphasizing patient safety. This at least conceptually reduces the risk of transfusing viable WBCs, emerging bacteria and viruses, all with potential transfusion complications. In the UK, prion removal filters for red cell products are used selectively for special groups of patients. Some research establishments are exploring the potential impact of pathogen inactivation of whole blood or red cell components, using the new generation of S-303 PIT and the prion removal filters in combination. It needs to be determined whether such a combined strategy, applied synergistically, enhances red cell transfusion safety without compromising the overall criteria of acceptability. It is necessary to critically examine the impact of a new generation of PIT technologies, which may exacerbate the red cell storage lesion and cause the development of undesirable antibodies in the recipient. The development of innovative laboratory tools is vital to study impacts of these measures on the quality of stored blood and their clinical outcome. The ultimate aim of red cell transfusion is to provide oxygen enriched red blood cells to the microcirculations and tissues. Definitive studies are needed to establish the potential unforeseen negative long term toxicity, overall efficacy/quality and the clinical outcome of treated stored blood.

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