Progress toward a pathogen-free blood supply

Jeffrey McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although the nation's blood supply is safer than ever, a small risk of transfusion-transmitted infection remains. Present strategies to further reduce the risk, such as the donor medical evaluation or laboratory testing, will not likely eliminate this risk. A different approach involves treating donated blood to eliminate its infectivity. A pathogen-inactivated plasma product was available for several years but was recently withdrawn. Several other methods are under development, but all of these prevent nucleic acids from replicating, thus inactivating any contaminating viruses or bacteria. Toxicity, mutagenicity, and safety margins seem to be adequate, and damage to blood proteins or cellular elements is minimal. Clinical trials of pathogen-inactivated platelets have been completed in Europe and in the United States, and phase III clinical trials of pathogen-inactivated red blood cells are underway in the United States. If these encouraging results are sustained, the risk of transfusion-transmitted disease may be nearly eliminated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the whale-watching operators and hotel owners for their time and participation in this study, and to the community of Coqu? for hosting us like family during the research season. Our gratitude also extends to the community counsel (Los Riscales) for their support and guidance with this project. Additionally, we would like to thank Nadya Ramirez-Martinez and Maria Camila Medina for their help in distributing and retrieving questionnaires and giving educational workshops in Choco. Mitch Brown provided various helpful comments on composition. We also thank funding agencies (Rufford Foundation for Nature Conservancy and Cetacean Society International) for their tremendous support and trust. Finally, we would like to dedicate this publication to our advisor, Dr. Stan Kuczaj, for his academic support, critique, and kind words. He will be greatly missed.


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