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OneBlood to begin testing donations for Zika virus

Testing will begin Aug. 1

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida-based blood bank OneBlood will test will begin testing donated blood for the Zika virus.

The group announced Thursday that the testing will begin Aug. 1

OneBlood is in communication with the Florida Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration and were alerted about the suspected non-travel-related Zika case currently under investigation in South Florida.

In the event the case is confirmed, OneBlood said they would cease collections in the impacted ZIP code and bring in blood from unaffected areas to supply that region.

“With approval to begin using the investigational test granted, our immediate plan is to begin testing a portion of our collections for the Zika virus to allow hospitals to have access to Zika-screened blood products from unaffected areas to use with their high risk patients, such as pregnant women,” said Dr. Rita Reik, OneBlood’s chief medical officer. “Hospitals that want Zika-screened products will request what they need on an on-demand basis. We will expand our inventory of Zika-screened blood based on hospital usage.”

The additional steps OneBlood implemented earlier this year to protect the local blood supply from the Zika virus remains in effect, including enacting additional donor deferral guidelines, updating the donor history questionnaire to include Zika specific questions, and issuing educational materials to donors. 

Click here to see OneBlood’s behind-the-scenes tour of their operations to see the technology that has been put in place to screen blood donations for the Zika virus.