Donated blood is screened first for several diseases like HIV and hepatitis, but the system is not perfect. For example, there is currently no screening for West Nile. But now, researchers at the University of Florida are trying to purify blood by adding a chemical to donated bags which targets the genetic material of bacteria and viruses. The technology is called Pathogen Inactivation, but is it safe? That is what researchers at the University of Florida are trying to find out.
"The treatment is designed to interfere with the ability of all these materials to successfully live and reproduce," says William Spotnitz, Thoracic Surgery.
Doctors say they are excited about the potential for Pathogen Inactivation. It is now under review by the FDA. If the safety studies go well, the word is it could be approved by 2004.