New Test Screens for Bacteria in Blood Platelets

Should benefit patients in need of transfusions

TUESDAY, Sept. 18, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- The first rapid test to detect bacterial contamination in blood platelets destined for transfusion has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Platelets are frequently transfused to prevent or stop bleeding in people who have surgery, have had a major bodily trauma, or who are receiving chemotherapy. Platelets contaminated with bacteria put recipients are risk of a life-threatening infection called blood poisoning. The infection must be treated quickly to prevent its spread to the heart and lungs.

The risk of someone receiving a platelet transfusion contaminated with bacteria is about one in 5,000, which is greater than either the risks of acquiring the hepatitis C virus (one in 1.6 million) or HIV (one in 1.9 million) via contaminated platelets, the FDA said.

The Platelet PGD Test System is produced by Verax Biomedica Inc. of Worcester, Mass.

More information

The FDA has more about this approval.

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