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Scottish blood service secures prion-filter patent:

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

The European Patent Office has granted the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) a patent for its technique for removing abnormal prion protein from solution containing biological products. The "depth filtration" technique involved has "no unacceptable effects on the nature or biological activity of the product", says the SNBTS, which developed the method to support the manufacture of plasma products, such as albumin and immune globulin. "Although we have not used UK plasma for fractionation since 1998, this technology is a welcome additional safety measure that can be applied worldwide," says the SNBTS. It believes that the technology has a "wide range of applications, not only in plasma products, but also in other bio-processing technologies that require risk reduction, such as cell culture media". The announcement coincides with the publication of the UK's 2003 Serious Hazards of Transfusion report (see Clinica No 1117), which features the first suspected case of transfusion-transmitted vCJD, identified following the death of a transfusion recipient.

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