Viruses, bacteria, and other dangers continue to threaten the safety of the blood supply, according to The Ne England Journal of Medicine which is warning that improvements are long overdue.
Hospitals and blood banks have relied on a reactive approach threats, developing and implementing screening tests after potential pathogens are identified. During this often slow and laborious process, pathogen transmission through transfusion is inevitable.
US Food and Drug Administration officials recently discussed safeguards the nation’s blood supply and how it protects the five million people who receive blood transfusions annually. Richard Davey, MD, Director of the Division of Blood Applications, Office of Blood Research and Review in FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says there are five overlapping layers of blood safety and review current FDA regulations and recommendations established to ensure a safe and available blood supply. Dr. Davey provided an overview of these safeguards and will focus on the donor screening process and the testing of blood for blood-borne infectious agents. He also discussed steps to insure transfusion safety in the hospital setting.