Towards pathogen inactivation of red blood cells and whole blood targeting viral DNA/RNA: Design, technologies, and future prospects for developing countries

Victor J. Drew, Lassina Barro, Jerard Seghatchian, Thierry Burnouf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

30 Citations (Scopus)


Over 110 million units of blood are collected yearly. The need for blood products is greater in developing countries, but so is the risk of contracting a transfusiontransmitted infection. Without efficient donor screening/ viral testing and validated pathogen inactivation technology, the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections correlates with the infection rate of the donor population. The World Health Organization has published guidelines on good manufacturing practices in an effort to ensure a strong global standard of transfusion and blood product safety. Sub-Saharan Africa is a high-risk region for malaria, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus and syphilis. Southeast Asia experiences high rates of hepatitis C virus. Areas with a tropical climate have an increased risk of Zika virus, Dengue virus, West Nile virus and Chikungunya, and impoverished countries face economical limitations which hinder efforts to acquire the most modern pathogen inactivation technology. These systems include Mirasol® Pathogen Reduction Technology, INTERCEPT®, and THERAFLEX®. Their procedures use a chemical and ultraviolet or visible light for pathogen inactivation and significantly decrease the threat of pathogen transmission in plasma and platelets. They are licensed for use in Europe and are used in several other countries. The current interest in the blood industry is the development of pathogen inactivation technologies that can treat whole blood (WB) and red blood cell (RBC). The Mirasol system has recently undergone phase III clinical trials for treating WB in Ghana and has demonstrated some efficacy toward malaria inactivation and low risk of adverse effects. A 2nd-generation of the INTERCEPT® S-303 system for WB is currently undergoing a phase III clinical trial. Both methodologies are applicable for WB and components derived from virally reduced WB or RBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-521
Number of pages10
JournalBlood Transfusion
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Blood
  • Inactivation
  • Pathogen
  • Red blood cell
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

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