The first patient to join the Cerus Corps study in collaboration with the American Red Cross has just signed up; this study is being done to determine the safety risks of INTERCEPT Blood System platelets that are to be used to treat chikungunya and dengue virus infections. The study, named TRUE (TReatment UsE), is taking place in Puerto Rico. Its ultimate goal is to make treatments available across the US.
Dengue viruses are at an endemic status in the Caribbean, and there has been a rise in Chikungunya cases since the first was reported in the region in December of 2013. Both illnesses can be found in the tropical regions of the Southeastern U.S. Due to the fact that there is no test available to screen donations for CHiKV infection, "investigational pathogen reduction" is being used as a viable alternative for the American Red Cross to implement in an effort to resume in Puerto Rico despite the risk of an epidemic.
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