Printer Friendly

Trapping viruses in blood.

Trapping viruses in blood

An estimated 3 to 5 percent of U.S. recipients of blood transfusions will contract infections from contaminating viruses. Though blood is routinely screened to spot such viruses, a few still evade detection. To catch these, chemical engineers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have developed an adsorbent-based virus-immobilizing filter for whole blood.

In tests with the herpes simplex virus, reports project leader Henry Wang, the experimental system reduced massive viral contamination in just one pass through the filter from 100,000 viruses per pint to around 100. But because the system is really aimed at finding and trapping just the trace quantities that elude blood-screening tests today, he and co-developer I-Fu Tsao believe it "can potentially remove all viral contaminants" from donated blood.

Viruses infect healthy cells by attaching to specific receptors on the cell surface. The Michigan researchers bind healthy cells carrying these receptors to sterile, 200-micron dextran beads. Then the bead-bound cells are packed into a 10-milliliter column. As blood passes through, viruses will leave the blood to bind with open receptors on the bound cells, Wang says. And his data suggest free viruses are not the only ones susceptible to such trapping.

"It is well known that the structure of the [normal] cell membrane undergoes certain modifications in the course of virus infection," he notes. These cells usually develop identifying marker antigens on their surface that match those on the surface of the virus infecting them. As long as this antigen is present, Wang says, an infected cell in the blood will be as fatally attracted to the filter as are free viruses.

Depending on which attractant cells are initially bound into the filter, Wang says, his system can be engineered to trap specific viruses or the whole range of those found contaminating blood. For example, upcoming tests will measure the filter's efficacy in immobilizing the AIDS virus using trapped T cells. Wang estimates that the cost for blood filtration using this device should be "much less than $10 per pint of blood."
COPYRIGHT 1988 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Raloff, Janet
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 18, 1988
Previous Article:Protecting tight bites.
Next Article:Hyperactivity: the family factor: researchers are looking at the controversial diagnosis and treatment of childhood hyperactivity through a familial...

Related Articles
The great AIDS race: testing the test.
On the AIDS trail: work continues on test, cure, vaccine.
AIDS blood test: qualified success.
AIDS blood screens: chapters 2 and 3.
Blood donation under the AIDS regime.
Space lasers may benefit blood banks.
New hepatitis virus, test found.
States Declare War on Mosquitoes.
Long-Term Studies of Hantavirus Reservoir Populations in the Southwestern United States: Rationale, Potential, and Methods.
Evidence of Hantavirus Infection in Microtus Ochrogaster in St. Louis County, Missouri.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters