Pathogen reduction technologies

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Ideally, pathogen reduction technology (PRT) should provide proactive protection against emerging pathogens, reduce the need to introduce additional testing, minimize bacterial contamination and potentially replace processing steps such as gamma-irradiation.

Material and Methods

Available literature regarding technologies currently in use or under development for the treatment of labile blood components during processing was reviewed.


The INTERCEPT and Mirasol PRT systems are used widely in blood centres in Europe, Asia and the Middle East for the treatment of both platelets and plasma, whereas clinical trials of platelets treated using the THERAFLEX UV-Platelets system are underway. In vitro data suggest that PRT treatment leads to some loss of platelet function. However, haemovigilance reports from countries where PRT-treated platelets and plasma are transfused indicate no change in component usage, and indeed a reduction in transfusion-related adverse events. Animal models are being used to elucidate mechanisms for these observed reductions. A second-generation S-303 system for red cells is also under development, as is a Mirasol PRT system for treatment of whole blood. Preliminary data indicate that these technologies may eventually become available.


The challenge for blood services is to understand and rationalize the costs, risks and benefits of PRT compared with removing any tests or processes, whilst aiming to provide the highest level of blood safety. Ongoing post-marketing surveillance and clinical trials are still required for all PRT systems.

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