Michigan Blood announces new protections against Zika - WNEM TV 5

Michigan Blood announces new protections against Zika

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Michigan Blood is taking steps to make dealing with the Zika virus easier for donors and recipients alike.

Thanks to Roche Molecular Systems Investigational New Drug (IND), Indiana Blood Center (Michigan Blood’s partner through Versiti) will soon test blood donations for the Zika virus. In August, the Food and Drug Administration released guidelines requiring most blood centers across the U.S. test for the virus by Friday, Nov. 18.

Michigan Blood will begin testing for the Zika virus four days sooner.

"The process for Zika is unlike anything we’ve ever done," said Cindy Raven, director of laboratories and component preparation for Michigan Blood. She says the team in Indiana has been working hard to get their labs ready for this next phase. Laboratory staff are also being trained in new labeling techniques before the samples are sent south.

Beginning Monday at Michigan Blood, donors must weigh at least 112 pounds instead of the previous 110 pound requirement, as an extra tube of blood will be taken for testing. Now, no one will be deferred if they’ve been to a Zika risk area. This could mean a two percent decrease in deferred donors after Nov. 14.

"It’s about the patients - providing the safest blood possible," said Raven. "It’s why we do what we do."

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