Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1 Multicenter Clinical Study To Test For Babesia In Blood Supply

This just released in the press by the Red Cross: The American Red Cross is participating in a multi-center clinical study sponsored by IMUGEN, Inc. to help improve the safety of the nation’s blood supply.

This study will test the blood supply for evidence of a tick-borne organism, Babesia microti, by investigational test methods developed by IMUGEN. It will be conducted under Imugen’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Investigational New Drug Application (IND) and will include the testing of more than 26,000 blood donor specimens from Babesia endemic and non-endemic areas to define the performance characteristics, sensitivity, and specificity of the investigational test methods for blood donor testing. Susan Stramer, Ph.D., executive scientific officer for the American Red Cross, will act as a principal investigator for the Red Cross arm of the study.

No mention has been made of whether or not test methods will also supply evidence of Babesia duncani or WA-1, which is becoming a more common strain of the organism which causes the malaria-like illness.

Read more here, at the link:

American Red Cross Participating in an Investigational Study to Test the Blood Supply for a Tick-Borne Parasite in Donated Blood

With any luck, these test methods will perform well and be made available internationally.

1 comment:

  1. This is welcome news, and I do hope the tests check for more than B. microti.

    Canada needs to update its policies and at least one website based on what I've just read below. Having a reliable test to screen all blood donations in North America is a necessary first step.

    [Date Modified: 2009-05-26]


    Transfusion Transmitted Diseases/Infections


    Caused by Babesia microti, babesiosis is a zoonotic disease endemic in the coastal areas of Massachusetts and New York States. Babesiosis occurs primarily during the period from May to August. In immunocompetent individuals the acute infection is either subclinical or results in some unspecific mild symptoms such as fever and headache. However, severe outcomes may occur in older patients, infants, and splenectomized or immunocompromised individuals.

    In general, B. microti is transmitted to humans through the bite of deer ticks - Ixodes scapularis; however, it can also be transmitted through blood transfusion to recipients from asymptomatic and parasitemic donors. Approximately 25 cases of Transfusion Transmitted babesiosis, including one recent case in Ontario, have been reported in North American since 1980[42].

    The risk of transmission of B. microti through blood transfusion is very low and varies according to geographic region. The risk is higher in babesiosis endemic than nonendemic regions. The majority of the 25 reported cases occurred in immunocompromised recipients. Currently, there are no effective methods of donor screening and testing. Because of the extremely small risk in Canada, blood donors are not routinely asked about a history of travel to babesiosis endemic areas or a history of tick bites, and blood units are not routinely tested for evidence of B. microti infection.

    (end of quote)

    With the number of emerging infectious diseases, our public health officials on both sides of the border are bound to be busy in the coming years and decades.


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