Colorado Researchers Zap Coronavirus In Donated Blood, Making Transfusions Safer

Jun 12, 2020
Originally published on June 12, 2020 4:57 pm

Scientists at Colorado State University have developed a way to make sure blood transfusions don't transmit the COVID-19 virus, according to a new study.

 


Blood donation centers ask people not to come in if they feel sick or have a fever, but there's still the risk that a donor's blood could carry the virus, and for the most part it's not possible to test every donor for COVID-19. 

And while it's not clear if the virus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, CSU researchers created a process that "eliminated a huge amount" of the virus in blood using the vitamin riboflavin and ultraviolet light. 

"It inactivates and can reduce the pathogen load in blood products, whether that be whole blood, platelets or plasma," said Izabela Ragan, a postdoctoral researcher at CSU.

Ragan said the technique is relatively inexpensive. If it's used in hospitals or blood centers, she said, it could provide a layer of assurance that donated blood does not carry the COVID-19 virus. 

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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