News Trends Analysis

Oct. 1, 2003
The ObservatoryOctober 2003Blood bank
Power blackout affects blood supply. The August power blackout motivated blood centers to re-evaluate future disaster needs. Many labs used backup generators to preserve their blood products; however, disruption of service meant thousands of units of blood went uncollected. One national blood-testing lab was unable to move blood, stretching meager blood-supply lines even thinner. A supply-line shortage already existed in many areas due to low donor turnout during the summer months, challenging local blood banks. The American Red Cross reported a significant drop in blood donations during the catastrophe, when blood drives had to be eliminated from its schedule. A spokesperson from the New York Blood Center said none of its blood supply was lost during the blackout because its generators kicked in, but shortages occurred when donors were not able to come in to the Center for several days.Scott Caswell from Americas Blood Center says that, in general, the supply is adequate but could be improved. Visit for daily updates on the blood supply. The websites stoplight is the indicator: red signifies a one-day-or-less supply; green, three days or better; yellow, somewhere between red and green.
The New Orleans Blood Center uses Wyndgate Technlogies SafeTrace Donor Management system via Bonfils Blood Centers subsidiary, Hemo-Net. This application service provider claims to be the first to offer this critical tracking and safeguard specifically for blood centers, and supports and protects the blood centers computer systems and software applications. Hemo-Net president Matt Dickey states, Its extremely important for blood centers to maintain their systems, and have secure access at any time from any location. We provide this service and technical support 24 hours a day. The companys new website,, describes the technology. 
NewsWest Nile virus update.
To combat the spread of West Nile virus (WNV), The Netherlands Crucell a biotechnology company is developing a whole-killed vaccine for humans, based on the companys trademarked PER.C6, a human cell manufacturing platform, and the industry standard for production of recombinant adenoviral vectors. The PER.C6 platform for the production of antibodies and vaccines forms large amounts of WNV, approximately 1,000 times higher than Vero cells in which viral vaccine products also can be produced and investigated for human use. Since geese are susceptible to the virus, an experimental high dose of a WNV vaccine was injected into a Crucell test group of the fowl twice within a 14-day interval. Almost all in the vaccinated group survived after 14 days with no adverse reactions. Infected geese that did not receive the vaccine died.
While the search for a WNV vaccine continues globally, in the midwestern United States, Dr. Richard Raymond, Nebraskas chief medical officer, and CDC officials discussed how increased irrigation in dry areas might have contributed to WNV cases in Nebraska and other states, where drought conditions, theroretically, would have excluded them from high incidence of WNV. Run-off irrigation, standing water at the ends of fields and hot weather makes for perfect conditions for mosquito larvae. Although the WNV season has waned, the CDC reported, as of mid-September, some 4,416 human cases and 84 deaths.CDC recommends flu vaccinations. The CDC estimates that manufacturers will produce approximately 85.5 million doses of flu vaccine for the approaching influenza season. The vaccine is reformulated yearly to match the currently circulating viruses. Influenza causes approximately 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations each season, from November through March. The World Health Organization reports that flu symptoms are often confused with those of SARS, warning that the influenza vaccine does not prevent other respiratory diseases and does not provide protection from SARS; however, high vaccination coverage may reduce the number of pneumonia cases, lowering the possibility of misdiagnosing influenza as
SARS update. International health experts and U.S. intelligence officials say SARS could re-emerge this fall as cold temperatures return. A report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council states the virus could still exist in animal populations and be transmitted to humans, and offered three scenarios that health officials might face in the future:Random outbreaks resurface but are limited to a few countries, rendering SARS more of a health nuisance than a crisis.SARS gains a foothold in undeveloped countries that lack adequate healthcare systems.SARS resurges in countries previously hit, or hits harder in locations like Europe and the United States, which do have sophisticated healthcare systems.It's
showtime 2003!
Nov. 1-4Annual Meeting & TXPO American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) San Diego, CAwww.aabb.orgNov. 4-853rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Los Angeles, CAwww.ashg.orgNov. 7-12 2003 Annual Meeting of American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) New Orleans, LAwww.acaai.orgNov. 8-1251st Annual Scientific Meeting American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) Orlando,© 2003 Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.