Canadian Blood Services’ commitment to blood safety is paramount, which is why many measures are in place to protect transfusion recipients from getting an infection through a blood transfusion. Pathogen inactivation, the latest measure being introduced at Canadian Blood Services, adds an extra layer of protection. By effectively damaging the nucleic acids of a number of pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, pathogen inactivation further reduces the risk of pathogen transmission—an especially important safeguard against new or emerging pathogens, or pathogens for which tests are not available.
In December 2021, Health Canada approved the use of Cerus INTERCEPT™ Pathogen Inactivation Technology to produce pathogen-reduced pooled platelet components at Canadian Blood Services. This approval paved the way for Canadian Blood Services to manufacture its first pathogen-inactivated blood component: pathogen-reduced platelets.
Years of collaborative teamwork was needed to introduce pathogen-reduced platelets in some Canadian hospitals. Researchers and development scientists at Canadian Blood Services have been evaluating pathogen inactivation technologies, including their potential impact on blood components, for several years. The product and process development group from Innovation and Portfolio Management at Canadian Blood Services led efforts to optimize a process for producing a pooled platelet component that meets the requirements of the INTERCEPT pathogen inactivation system and provide assurance that the treated product would meet quality control requirements. Finally, supply chain tested and validated the manufacturing process in 2021.
In January 2022, Canadian Blood Services launched pathogen-reduced platelets, also known as pooled platelets psoralen-treated (PPPT). PPPT is now available to hospitals served by our Ottawa production site. Ultimately, Canadian Blood Services intends to make PPPT available at other locations and introduce pathogen-reduced technology for other blood components.
A new resource about PPPT for health care professionals is now available on Canadian Blood Services’ professional education website. The publication, Pathogen-reduced buffy coat platelets, provides information about the technology used to inactivate pathogens, the process of PPPT production, and a comparison of PPPT to untreated platelets, in terms of product characteristics, benefits and drawbacks.
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The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.