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EU Commission considering extending deferral period for organ, blood donors who leave area with WNV.

Responding to data released by the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Blood Product Advisory Committee, an expert committee of the European Commission (EU) is considering extending the deferral period for organs used for transplant and blood donors who leave an area with ongoing transmission of West Nile Virus (WNV) from 28 days to 56 days. The FDA advisory committee released data indicating that infectious WNV particles may linger in the blood of the infected person for up to 49 days after the onset of infection.

A request seeking an updated opinion on WNV containment measures has been made to the EU's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). "In light of an increase in WNV infections in humans in Portugal and potential similar situations in other European areas, the inclusion of these areas of a time-limited donor deferral pursuant to Directive 2004/33/EC and the introduction of testing for WNV may need to be reevaluated," the request said.

The "terms of reference" of the request stated:

"In light of recent evidence, the SCENIHR is requested to review the previous scientific opinion of the Scientific Committee on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices 'on the impact of arthropod borne diseases (WNV) on the safety of blood used for transfusion as well as organs used for transplantation in the European Community' as adopted on 16 October 2003 (SANCO/SCMPMD/2003/00025) in light of the new information.

The Committee is also asked to assess:

*The potential impact on the blood supply of introducing additional deferral criteria

*The impact on the use of tissues and cells used in therapy.

The SCENIHR is also requested to examine new scientific evidence and adopt an opinion on the impact of the risk of transmission of WNV through blood transfusion from infected donors beyond the current deferral period for 4 weeks."

The full report is available online at:
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Publication:Transplant News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 15, 2004
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