FDA encourages Zika virus tests for all donated blood in U.S.
"There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission," Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said. "At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion."
The first guidance from the FDA was released on Feb. 16. It stated that only regions showing active Zika virus transmission should test the donated whole blood as well as blood components. The recommendation also included stopping blood collection and issuing pathogen-decreasing devices.
Updated guidelines were released in light of the latest scientific evidence; possible serious health consequences from Zika virus among pregnant women; and information from other public health agencies.
"As new scientific and epidemiological information regarding Zika virus has become available, it's clear that additional precautionary measures are necessary," Dr. Luciana Borio, the FDA's acting chief scientist, said. "We are issuing revised guidance for immediate implementation in order to help maintain the safety of the U.S. blood supply."
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