Cerus donates blood pathogen system to Olympics emergency center

A statue of Christ above Rio de Janiero

Cerus ($CERS) and Brazil’s CEI Group are donating Intercept Blood System pathogen reduction kits for platelets and plasma to Hemorio. Hemorio is a public hospital which takes on transfusion medicine and hematology care for Rio de Janeiro and a portion of the State Health Department and coordinator of the State Blood Network.

The hospital will also be responsible for any platelet and plasma transfusion needs during the Olympics, as it is the designated emergency preparedness blood center in Rio de Janeiro for the summer games, the announcement said.

Intercept platelets processing set
Intercept platelets processing set--Courtesy of Intercept

The donation should help protect against pathogens like Zika, dengue and chikungunya that could be present in donor blood. Luiz Amorim, the general director at Hemorio, noted in the announcement that this donation was a major boost for the hospital, which was struggling with emergency preparedness funding ahead of the games.

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“As the selected blood products provider for Olympics emergency preparedness, providing pathogen-reduced blood components is an important part of our readiness plan,” Amorim said in the announcement. “However, due to funding constraints, it has not been feasible to implement the technology commercially in advance of the Olympic Games.”

Amorim noted that in addition to pathogen protection for donor blood, this donation will also help save costs at Hemorio.

The Intercept system for platelets and plasma has been around for a while now, having been approved in Europe in 2002 and in the United States in 2014. The tech is used to help ensure the safety of donated blood. Enveloped viruses, nonenveloped viruses, Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, spirochetes and parasites are all inactivated so they are no longer present in donor blood.

“Intercept is comprised of single-use platelet and plasma processing sets and an ultraviolet (UVA) illumination device for the ex vivo preparation and storage of pathogen-reduced whole blood-derived or apheresis plasma and apheresis platelet components,” the announcement explained.

The system is also the only pathogen reduction system that has approval from the Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) for commercial use in Brazil, and is currently in the process of commercial implementation at multiple blood centers in Brazil in addition to the Hemorio donation.

- here's the press release

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