April 18, 2016
Creative Testing Solutions has begun testing blood donations collected in the US territorial islands of Puerto Rico for Zika virus. Creative Testing Solutions is the exclusive blood donor testing laboratory for the Blood Systems family of blood centers, including Blood Centers of the Pacific, this area’s non-profit blood provider. Creative Testing Solutions implemented the screening test for Zika virus together with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the test manufacturer under the FDA investigational new drug (IND) protocol.
The new Zika screening test is based on a Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAT) testing platform already in use by Creative Testing Solutions. NAT testing technology has been in use for more than two decades to screen blood donations for hepatitis B and C, HIV and, more recently, West Nile virus.
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information, Puerto Rico is the only US state or territory collecting blood in an area with active local transmission of mosquito-borne Zika infections. Creative Testing Solutions is the primary provider of blood donor testing services for the US Territory of Puerto Rico and tests approximately 35 percent of the US blood supply.
“Puerto Rico is still the only US state or territory where the CDC reports active Zika virus transmission,” said Kent Corley, Communications and Public Relations Associate, of Blood Centers of the Pacific. “As a precautionary measure, Creative Testing Solutions is making plans to expand Zika testing to the continental US.”
To date, there are no known cases of Zika transmission from a blood donation in the continental US, and none of the Zika infections reported in the continental US are locally acquired mosquito-borne cases. The most current CDC information about cases of Zika infections is available at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html.
Since February 2016, Blood Centers of the Pacific and all other US blood providers have been required to defer blood donors who have traveled to Zika-endemic areas.
To maintain a safe blood supply, Blood Centers of the Pacific requires that donors who have returned from an area where Zika is present wait 28 days before they give blood. In addition, donors should not donate if in the PAST 4 WEEKS they:
- Had symptoms from a known case of Zika (see symptoms below)
- Had any two symptoms listed below following recent travel (within 2 weeks) to an area where Zika is present
- Have had sex with a man who:
- Had a known case of Zika in the past 3 months
- Has been in an area where Zika is present in the past 3 months
The most common Zika symptoms are: fever, rash, joint or muscle pain, eye pain or redness, or headache.
“Our typical blood collections have been strained because of the number of blood donors we have had to defer for Zika precautions,” explains Kent Corley. “We’re asking healthy individuals to come donate if they have not traveled to Mexico, Central or South America or the Caribbean in the past four weeks. Or, if they are planning on traveling to a Zika-affected area soon, we’re asking them to come donate before they leave on their trip.”
Blood Centers of the Pacific, part of the Blood Systems network, has been this area’s non-profit community blood provider since 1941, and serves patients in more than 50 hospitals in Northern California. The Blood Systems network is one of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations and is a founding member of America’s Blood Centers and the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks).
Creative Testing Solutions is the largest nonprofit independent blood donor testing laboratory organization in the United States. In 2015, Creative Testing Solutions tested approximately 4.5 million donor samples, or 35 percent of the U.S. blood supply, at four high volume laboratory facilities located in Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle and Tampa. Creative Testing Solutions is owned by four of the leading U.S. blood service providers: Blood Systems, OneBlood, the Institute for Transfusion Medicine and Bloodworks Northwest.