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Report: Swiss Red Cross processed suspect blood plasma

(AP) -- The Swiss Red Cross processed plasma from blood given to a Virginia blood bank by a donor believed to have HIV, but none of the processed plasma was distributed, said a Red Cross official in Richmond, Virginia.

(AP) — The Swiss Red Cross processed plasma from blood given to a Virginia blood bank by a donor believed to have HIV, but none of the processed plasma was distributed, said a Red Cross official in Richmond, Virginia.

The plasma has been quarantined until a decision is made on whether to destroy it or use it for scientific research, Tiziana Frassineti, a spokeswoman for ZLB Central Laboratory, part of the Swiss Red Cross, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Virginia Blood Services, the blood bank for central Virginia, has acknowledged that a donor gave blood and later informed the organization of testing positive for the AIDS virus.

But the blood had tested OK, and the blood bank separated the donation into red blood cells and plasma and sent the red blood cells to the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in Richmond, where it was given to a patient.

William C. Young of Petersburg said he received the red blood cells during surgery March 17 and subsequently found out he was infected with HIV.

ZLB relied on Virginia Blood Services’ tests and did not retest the plasma for HIV, according to Frassineti. She said officials from Virginia Blood Services contacted the Swiss laboratory once they learned of the change in the donor’s status. By then, the plasma had been processed, but none of its products had been distributed, she said.

Plasma can be processed for such products as clotting factors used to treat hemophilia and for the protein albumin, used to treat chronic kidney and liver diseases and shock from severe blood loss.

Donated plasma is treated with extreme heat and chemicals to inactivate viruses such as HIV or hepatitis B and C, which health officials say reduces the risk of transmitting infectious diseases.

ZLB is cooperating in a Food and Drug Administration investigation of the Virginia case, Frassineti said.

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