U.S. Government to Invest in Research and Development of Pathogen Reduction Technologies

Published By : 21 Jun 2016 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

The U.S. government has said that it has decided to invest in two pathogen reduction techniques with the aim of helping in mitigating the risk of transmission of Zika virus and other infections. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Monday that the funding will be granted through its BARDA unit, which will initially fund US$17.5 mn to the U.S. division of the Japanese company Terumo Corp and US$30.8 mn to Cerus Corp.

The Intercept technology by Cerus Corp has already been approved by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for reducing pathogens in plasma and platelets. The company is conducting a trial to demonstrate the therapy’s usage in reducing pathogens in red blood cells also.

The Cerus agreement with BARDA includes funds of $10.7 mn to be used for evaluating the safety of the blood system in Puerto Rico, a country that is struggling to cope the flaring Zika epidemic. The contract is initially made for three years but could be extended for up to five years and could include additional funds ranging up to US$149 mn to help aid more studies, production of new products, and more tests in regions where the Zika virus is prevalent.

The BARDA contract with the Japanese company Terumo is for the further development of its Mirasol System to demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing the risk of pathogen infection through blood platelets. It is being said that the contract could extend up to six years and involve funds worth US$151.8 mn for covering more studies, production and development of new products, and the development of the system for its use in mitigating the risk of pathogen transmission through blood plasma.

The contract also grants BARDA the option to fund for using the Mirasol system to test specifically against the transmission of the Zika virus.

The HHS has mentioned in a comment regarding these investments that both the systems have demonstrated effective reduction in the amount of certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites in human blood and blood components to varying degrees.
 
The safety of blood components is generally confirmed through testing of the donated blood and screening of the donor. Additional pathogen reduction techniques will help in complementing the existing systems and ensure high level of safety of a variety of blood components.

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