The long and winding road to pathogen reduction of platelets, red blood cells and whole blood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pathogen reduction technologies (PRTs) have been developed to further reduce the current very low risks of acquiring transfusion-transmitted infections and promptly respond to emerging infectious threats. An entire portfolio of PRTs suitable for all blood components is not available, but the field is steadily progressing. While PRTs for plasma have been used for many years, PRTs for platelets, red blood cells (RBC) and whole blood (WB) were developed more slowly, due to difficulties in preserving cell functions during storage. Two commercial platelet PRTs use ultra violet (UV) A and UVB light in the presence of amotosalen or riboflavin to inactivate pathogens’ nucleic acids, while a third experimental PRT uses UVC light only. Two PRTs for WB and RBC have been tested in experimental clinical trials with storage limited to 21 or 35 days, due to unacceptably high RBC storage lesion beyond these time limits. This review summarizes pre-clinical investigations and selected outcomes from clinical trials using the above PRTs. Further studies are warranted to decrease cell storage lesions after PRT treatment and to test PRTs in different medical and surgical conditions. Affordability remains a major administrative obstacle to PRT use, particularly so in geographical regions with higher risks of transfusion-transmissible infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-667
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • blood transfusion
  • pathogen reduction
  • platelets
  • red blood cells
  • transmissible infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'The long and winding road to pathogen reduction of platelets, red blood cells and whole blood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this