Review Article

Whole blood pathogen reduction technology and blood safety in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review with regional discussion

Asa'ah Nkohkwo, Gabriel Agbor, Emmanuel Asongalem, Claude Tagny, Tazoacha Asonganyi
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a363 | DOI: | © 2016 Asa'ah Nkohkwo, Gabriel Agbor, Emmanuel Asongalem, Claude Tagny, Tazoacha Asonganyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2015 | Published: 09 June 2016

About the author(s)

Asa'ah Nkohkwo, N-S TechnoMed, London, United Kingdom
Gabriel Agbor, Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plants Studies, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Emmanuel Asongalem, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea and Toxicology Society, Buea, Cameroon
Claude Tagny, Haematology and Blood Transfusion Service, University Teaching Hospital, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Tazoacha Asonganyi, Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé 1, Yaoundé, Cameroon


Background: Despite vast improvements in transfusion services in sub-Saharan Africa over the last decade, there remain serious concerns on the safety and adequacy of the blood supply across the region.

Objective: This review paper ascertains the role of pathogen reduction technology (PRT) in improving blood safety and supply adequacy in the region.

Method: The state of blood safety in sub-Saharan Africa was reviewed. Meetings, seminars and correspondence were undertaken with key clinicians, scientists and professional bodies in the region, including the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa, to examine the suitability of PRT for improving the safety of whole blood transfusion, a prevalent transfusion format in the region.

Results: Existing literature suggests that combining PRT with current blood safety measures (such as serology) would improve the safety and adequacy of the blood supply for transfusions in sub-Saharan Africa. This was echoed by the findings of the stakeholder meetings.

Conclusion: Following a detailed appraisal of two leading PRT systems, the Mirasol® PRT System and the Cerus S-303 System, we suggest that companies conduct comprehensive toxicological evaluation of the agents used for PRT and publish this in the scientific literature. We also recommend that the safety and efficacy of these technologies should be established in a randomised clinical trial conducted in sub-Saharan Africa.


Pathogen Reduction/ Inactivation; Transfusion-Transmitted Infections; Blood Safety; Sub-Saharan Africa


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