CHARLOTTE- The threat that viruses like Zika could infect our blood supply is real. New technology available for the first time in the Carolinas can killed viruses and bacteria in donated platelets. It’s at the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, and they gave Time Warner Cable News the first look at it.
“We go to great lengths to maintain the safety of our blood supply,” said Martin Grable, President/CEO of CBCC.
Blood banks now test for a variety of problems. Now, they have a way to eliminate them. Starting Monday, the CBCC will start collecting pathogen reduction platelets.
“This is revolutionary!” said Grable.
The machine is called the Intercept. The combination of a filter, additive and UV light eliminate blood bourne pathogens, like Zikavirus, Chikungunya, Denguevirus and much more.
“It would effectively render testing inconsequential because we have the ability to eliminate the threat,” said Grable.
The new machine works with just platelets right now. Grable says all blood products could eventually go through this process.
CBCC is only the fourth blood center in the country to have the Intercept.
Right now, testing alone costs about $50 per unit. The new process will add $50-$100 to that cost, but the number could be reduced if the need for most blood testing is eliminated.
As always, blood banks need more donors, especially in the African-American community.