The initiative to create a system that will assure safety and reliability in blood banks is mandated by UK laws. It is therefor a crime for an institution selling blood products not to comply with the principles found in “Good Manufacturing Practice” or GMP. Now, after deciding to use real-time PCR it is logical to contract with a manufacturer with a good track record and proven performance. In this case the firm Roche will be the one to provide for the needed equipment and materials to screen donated blood.
Furthermore, Roche will be in-charge of training key personnel in how to use the new screening methods.
In order to ensure quality of the test procedures, UK personnel will be sent abroad for further training and also for refresher courses as to keep them updated and at the same time sharpen their skills with regards to B19 viral detection. After the initial training phase, the blood bank will be responsible to document all the procedures related to the new system of blood testing.
Subsequently, the IT department of said institution will be tasked to improve the documentation as well as information dissemination. The new screening and test procedures for donated blood will be seen in the institution’s websites, circulars, newsletters, etc.
All concerned personnel as well as future and past donors will be made aware of the new procedures. Aside from having well-trained and well-informed staff, GMP principles dictates the establishment of a separate Quality Control department. This arm of the institution will ensure strict compliance to procedures that includes proper storage of blood and delivery of the blood products. In other words Quality Control will be responsible to monitor all activity starting from screening donors up to the transfusion of blood to patients.
The GMP protocol includes follow-up and strict monitoring from beginning to end of the life cycle of donated blood. This means prompt response to complaints and quick action when it is found that the institution needs to issue a recall of blood products released from a specific period of time. Monitoring can also mean the creation of an efficient system of information dissemination such as informing donors that they are infected with B19 virus. Monitoring can also play a major part in managing the storage of donated blood.
It is a known fact that sometimes blood banks are low on the supply of blood. Now, since a relative small percentage of the population can be considered at risk patients when it comes to B19 infected blood, the monitoring system can accurately match infected blood with patients who will not be harmed when transfused with B19 contaminated blood. This ensure enough supply of blood and not resort in excess wastage as the blood bank will not be forced to throw away even those blood that have been found to contain human parvovirus pathogens.
Finally, all these can be accomplished by having well trained staff and facilities that are suited for the task. This includes securing the premises to minimize the risk of contamination and of course preventing access to saboteurs specially in this age of heightened terrorist activity. Conclusion It was made clear that blood banks have already reached a level of sophistication that would put to rest fears of contamination in any product. Still there are pathogens that escape routine procedures by virtue of their physical make-up.
One of these viruses belongs to the parvovirus family also known as B19 (human parvovirus). Since B19 viruses are not eliminated through the usual inactivation methods this type of virus becomes a serious challenge and at the same time offers an opportunity for immunologists, medical practitioners and blood bank administrators. The opportunity is seen in using B19 virus as the ultimate test for new techniques in viral inactivation in donated blood. In the meantime, blood banks and hospitals must work hand in hand to avoid the transmitting B19 virus through transfusion.
The alliance is seen in using sophisticated detection methods that will reduce the possibility of infecting the recipient. On the other hand, hospitals and clinics must be diligent in screening recipients to determine those who are susceptible to fatal complications from receiving B19 infected blood.
Guidelines for blood banks can be seen in UK mandated laws concerning “Good Manufacturing Practice” (GMP). The GMP will assure quality and safety and nothing less is expected from blood banks when lives are dependent on them. References Barnes, K. (2003).
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