Pathogen reduction is a post-collection blood product manipulation process used for many years in Europe but only relatively recently approved in the United States. A substance is added to platelet and plasma products (not yet red cell products) after collection. This substance (amotosalen or riboflavin, depending on the manufacturer) binds to nucleic acids of both microorganisms and white blood cells in the product. The product is then flooded with ultraviolet light to permanently cross-link the nucleic acid, rendering the organisms (and the cells) incapable of replication. This process may ultimately take the place of some infectious disease testing, and may reduce or eliminate the need to do product manipulations such as irradiation or leukocyte reduction. In addition, pathogen reduction may eliminate the need to test platelets for bacterial contamination.
Please see my interview with Dr. Jeff McCullough in BBGE Episode 020 for more on pathogen reduction.
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