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In furtherance of its lifesaving mission, the nonprofit community blood center will roll out new screening tests for all blood donations at its Northeast and Midwest facilities

New York Blood Center (NYBC), a nonprofit community blood center dedicated to saving lives through the provision of safe and secure blood-related products and research, today announced plans to begin screening its blood supply for the Zika virus in all of the local communities where it collects blood.

“In a time of critical threats to our nation’s blood supply, all of our resources are dedicated to ensuring NYBC delivers safe and secure blood to all of the communities it serves,” said Dr. Christopher Hillyer, President of NYBC. “Blood is critical to our nation’s healthcare system. We save human lives every day through our blood products and research, and will continue our singular focus on this mission as new threats emerge.”

On Friday, August 26, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued “Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Zika Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Components: Guidance for Industry." The revised Guidance recommended Zika Virus nucleic acid testing (NAT) or pathogen reduction to be performed on all blood collections. The FDA recommended certain states – including Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, and Texas – begin testing in four weeks, with all remaining states beginning within 12 weeks.  NYBC and its partner blood centers – Community Blood Centers (CBC) of Greater Kansas City and Innovative Blood Resources (IBR) of St. Paul, Minnesota – will bring all of their facilities into compliance with the new FDA testing guidance within the prescribed time period.

The FDA’s new Guidance is a change from an earlier Guidance, issued in March, which recommended geographic travel exclusions for those who traveled to areas of risk, or had sexual contact with people who may have traveled to areas of risk. Once testing is initiated, the travel exclusions will be removed. 

About the New York Blood Center

Now more than 50 years old, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the country. NYBC, along with its partner organizations Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri (CBC), and Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), based in St. Paul, Minnesota, collect approximately 2,000 units of blood products each day, serving local communities of more than 25 million people in New York, New Jersey, parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the Kansas City metropolitan area, Minnesota, and Nebraska. 

NYBC and its partners also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services, while NYBC’s National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) is home to the world’s largest public cord blood bank. NYBC is also home to a renowned research institute, which — among other milestones — developed the Hepatitis B vaccine and innovative blood-purification technology.