Red Cross Collaboration to Develop Whole Blood Pathogen Inactivation

The Swiss Red Cross Humanitarian Foundation has granted funds to Swiss Transfusion SRC (Blutspende SRK Schweiz) to adapt the Cerus INTERCEPT™ Blood System for red blood cells for pathogen inactivation and transfusion of whole blood, specifically for sub-Saharan African countries. The initial funding of 1.5 million Swiss Francs (approximately 1.38 million euros) will support the feasibility phase of the project and completion of in vitro studies to support patient clinical trials. 

Safety of the blood supply is a particular challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike developed countries, the common practice in many African countries is to transfuse whole blood. In addition to well-known transfusion-transmitted pathogens, risk remains high due to pathogens that are endemic to African countries, for which screening assays may not be readily available. Pathogen inactivation for whole blood has the potential to improve the safety of transfusions in sub-Saharan Africa, where diminished blood availability due to severe anemia from malaria, HIV and obstetric bleeding is common.