BACKGROUND: The systematic screening for several blood‐borne viral genomes in blood donations is a complementary safety measure planned or discussed by the national authorities of several countries. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: To appreciate the feasibility of such screening using pooled samples, a multicenter study of real‐time simulation has been performed on the model of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Four blood transfusion center laboratories and two research and diagnosis laboratories simultaneously screened, by several HCV RNA polymerase chain reaction assays, a panel of plasma sample pools of different sizes (500, 100, and 10 samples), collected from HCV‐infected or HCV‐ uninfected blood donors. One viremic plasma was introduced in each pool. HCV RNA was detected by in‐house polymerase chain reaction procedures or by standardized manual or semi‐automated polymerase chain reaction assays. RESULTS: The results indicate the feasibility of sample pooling, which renders the screening for viral genomes by molecular biology techniques applicable in the short term and the importance of the experience of laboratory personnel in the use of molecular biology tools. CONCLUSION: The improvement of standardized assays needs to be continued, and training of laboratory staff members appears to be a crucial step before systematic screening of blood donations for viral genomes by molecular biology techniques can occur.
Transfusion – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1998
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