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Transfusion safety and screening of viral genomes in blood donations : parameters, challenges, uncertainties Volume 4, issue 2, Mars-Avril 1998

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The risk of contamination by agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through the transfusion of cellular blood products has been drastically reduced by the implementation of preventive measures, including the selection of blood donors and the systematisation of serological assays. While the residual risk of viral contamination is today very low, the health authorities of several countries intend to test the possibility to add assays of molecular biology allowing the detection of viral genomas to the current biological measures of selection of blood donations. In this review, we present the parameters of the discussion on the impact and the feasibility of a systematic screening of viral genomas in blood donations. The improvement of standardized assays needs to be followed through, and training of laboratories appears to be a crucial step before any eventual systematisation of screening of viral genomes by molecular biology in blood donations