Viral nucleic acids in human plasma pools

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The identification of viruses in human blood is required for epidemiologic surveillance and to detect potentially emerging threats to blood transfusion safety.


Viral nucleic acids in plasma fractionation pools assembled from blood donors in the United States and Europe were analyzed by viral metagenomics.


Anelloviruses were detected in each of the 10 plasma pools. Human pegivirus A (HPgV; GB virus type C) sequences were identified in eight of the 10 pools, more than 90% of which belong to Genotype 2. The recently described human HPgV2 in Flaviviridae was not detected. A small number of sequence reads of human papillomavirus were also detected in three pools. In one pool, two different gemycircularvirus genomes were identified and fully sequenced. The capsid protein of one gemycircularvirus shared 83% to 84% identity to those of genomes from human serum and sewage. The presence of the gemycircularvirus genomes in the plasma pool was independently confirmed and the viral concentration estimated by digital PCR at more than 106 copies/mL assuming their origin from single donors.


Further research is required to elucidate whether gemycircularviruses can infect humans or are indicative of contamination occurring during phlebotomy, plasma pool processing, or ongoing donor fungal infections.

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