The King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow will soon introduce technology to make blood transfusion safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacteria that escape in the present screening method.
Prof Tulika Chandra, head of the department of transfusion medicine at KGMU said, “We are the first in Asia to introduce pathogen reduction technology (PRT) being used in the US, the UK and Europe. This, apart from making blood safe for transfusion among patients, will also help reduce rejection rate among organ transplant patients.”
The PRT is capable of identifying and eliminating viruses and bacteria in general. Usually, screening with the present technology is done for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Malaria, Syphilis while blood has other viruses, including dengue and chikungunya, and harmful bacteria that are not screened before transfusion to a patient.
She explained, “Platelet and plasma, the two blood components, are a reservoir of virus and bacteria and this technology PRT is capable of eliminating infection from it. Also, it can eliminate WBC (white blood cells) from platelets, which are present in traces despite component separation. This will also contribute to reducing the rejection rate among transplant patients.”
Platelet is stored at a temperature between 20 degrees Celsius and 24 degrees Celsius which is the ideal range for bacterial growth. “PRT has a success rate of 99 per cent,” said Chandra.
Prof Chandra said that many patients need frequent blood transfusion, including those suffering from thalassaemia or other blood disorders. Such patients go for blood transfusion and the blood units are screened just for HIV, Hepatitis (B and C), malaria and syphilis but they may get infected with dengue or chikungunya or any other infection repeatedly.
“Those going for blood transfusion once or twice are at less risk but those who need blood transfusion frequently are at greater risk which can be reduced considerably by the PRT,” she said.
She said once PRT is started, this technology will first be used for transplant patients. The second preference will be given to patients in need of frequent blood transfusion.