Making the blood supply as safe as possible has been a principal mission of New York Blood Center since its founding in 1964. Our commitment to blood safety begins with the recruitment of only volunteer blood donors and includes many steps to ensure patient safety. Some donors whose donation tests positive even once may be permanently deferred from donating.
But progress in blood safety and state-of-the-art blood services also depends on research to disarm deadly viruses, detect infectious agents, overcome problems of incompatibility and develop disease vaccines, tests or cures.
NYBC has developed procedures that have strengthened blood safety everywhere. For instance, only 30 years ago blood transfusions routinely transmitted the hepatitis B virus, causing potentially lethal liver infections. This finding led to a practical test to screen for hepatitis B infected blood, now used nationwide.
Scientists at NYBC were pioneers in the field of virus inactivation, developing a solvent/detergent process to eliminate dangerous viruses from plasma and plasma products, such as the clotting factor used by hemophiliacs. The solvent/detergent process destroys the coat of certain viruses - including HIV and hepatitis B and C viruses - inactivating the viruses without harming the fragile blood proteins in plasma.
Every pint of blood collected is screened for markers of a variety of transfusion-transmissible diseases (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HTLV-1/2, syphilis, West Nile Virus and T. Cruzi the cause of Chagas Disease) using serological as well as molecular (Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing) methods. Products that test positive for any of these markers are not released for transfusion. We also perform additional, confirmatory tests on donors whose screening results are positive in order to provide these individuals with relevant medical information and to provide the basis for notification of donors of their eligibility for future blood donations.