FDA grants use of experimental blood test for Zika screening

WASHINGTON, Jumada II 21, 1437, March 30, 2016, SPA — Federal health officials are granting use of an experimental test to screen blood donations for Zika virus, an emergency step designed to protect local blood supplies from the mosquito-borne virus, according to AP.

The action means U.S. territories with active Zika infections, primarily Puerto Rico, will be able to resume collecting and screening their own blood. Earlier this month, the island of 3.5 million barred local donations and began importing blood from the U.S., following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said Wednesday that use of the test could be expanded if the virus spreads to other areas of the U.S.

“In the future, should Zika virus transmission occur in other areas, blood collection establishments will be able to continue to collect blood and use the investigational screening test, minimizing disruption to the blood supply,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s center for biologics.

Last month the FDA advised U.S. blood banks to refuse donations from people who have travelled to Zika-affected regions in the previous four weeks. Those guidelines remain in effect.

22:25 LOCAL TIME 19:25 GMT