Blood centres employ a series of processes and procedures to minimise the infectious risk of disease transmission and to create layers of safety to protect patients. These pathogen inactivation steps include donor selection based on health history, donor deferral registries, viral marker testing, the use of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) procedures, and specific component manipulations, such as leukoreduction.

Over the past decade, pathogen inactivation technologies have been introduced. The INTERCEPT™ Blood System for platelets and plasma uses amotosalen – a well-characterised photoactive compound that specifically targets DNA and RNA – and UVA illumination to irreversibly crosslink nucleic acids. In doing so, INTERCEPT blocks replication of viruses, bacteria, leukocytes and parasites, rendering them inactive.

The decision to employ pathogen inactivation (PI) technologies should be based on their relative effectiveness at preventing disease transmission, the safety profile of the PI-treated product, the maintenance of in vivo efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of the intervention.