Post Created in 2018


Onward and Upward—Journey to the Cloud

Cloud computing is bringing us closer to the utility information technology (IT) model: functionality on-demand, elasticity to increase or decrease resources as needed, and accessibility—the ability to access it from connected devices in any location. Deployment models can be private (services from internal hardware), public (services from a public provider), or a hybrid (services delivered by a combination of both). Service delivery models include Infra-structure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), each with unique characteristics chosen for your needs. In simple terms, IaaS refers to getting your IT infrastructure needs for computing, storage, and networking from external providers, while PaaS is providing a software platform for developing custom software applications. SaaS refers to obtaining completely developed software application(s) from providers. Read Full Post >


Follow the Data

At the recent Blood Products Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting (ABC Newsletter #42), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heard the committee’s endorsement for moving from the current universal individual dona-tion nucleic acid testing (ID-NAT) for Zika virus (ZIKV) to a model used for West Nile Virus (WNV) donor screen-ing—screening using minipools (MP-NAT) to reduce operational burdens, with rapid conversion to ID-NAT based on prospectively determined “triggers” that demonstrate at the probability of local (autochthonous) vector-borne transmission(s). This strategy was recommended by ABC via a statement endorsed by the Scientific, Medical, and Technical Committee, reviewed by the ABC Board of Directors, and delivered as a joint statement from ABC, the American Red Cross, and the AABB. The current expectation for WNV is that ID-NAT triggering will occur in an appropriate geographic region based on a donor’s residential zip code within 24 hours or less of reaching a trigger—a fixed number of presumptively viremic donors (and/or the presence of other WNV activity in the area served by a collection facility). For WNV, accomplishing this rapid conversion to ID from MP-NAT required the evolution of an effective communication system among laboratories and center-to-center that includes blast e-mail communications to formally maintained address lists and entry of appropriate data on a website hosted by the AABB. A similar website was established to accommodate information on ZIKV testing of donors during IND testing and remains operable. Such data entry and e-mail messaging must occur as soon as possible (again, not to exceed 24 hours) since other collectors must assess their need to transition to ID-NAT. Read Full Post >


A Bridge Too Far

The Trump administration would forbid using the terms “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based” in 2018 budget documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The original story is here. This is not the first attempt to muzzle an agency, but it is the first affecting one with which the blood community works very closely. Read Full Post >


BPAC Outcomes

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Blood Products Advisory Committee (BPAC) met for two full days of sausage making—not always pretty, but the committee came up with a tasty product. Two topics were of particular interest to ABC member blood centers. Bacterial contamination of platelets was the subject of draft guidances from the agency in December 2014 and again in March 2016. ABC commented repeatedly on these, last in late winter of this year to urge FDA to make available an approach like that used in the United Kingdom, Héma-Québec and most recently Canadian Blood Services. It is delayed, high volume primary culture, in return for 7-day platelet dating without secondary bacterial testing on day 4 and later during storage. If the FDA accepts the recommendation of the BPAC (it is not required to do so), we can deliver to hospitals a safe, ready-to-use platelet that requires no further testing and/or relabeling there. Ex-tended dating will be associated with lower outdates and offer operational advantages in collection facilities that will offset at least part of the increased cost of enhanced sensitivity. Consider this a victory for safety, customer service, and blood center operations—win-win-win. If pathogen reduction is the most effective approach to bacterial safety in platelets, then we now have a rest stop on the road to that approach while manufacturers make the process(es) more “user friendly.” Read Full Post >


Harvey & Irma Silver Lining: the HERF

The recent hurricanes more than earned their status as disasters from the despair, death, and destruction they left in their wakes. For us blood bankers the successful launch of an industry-wide, grassroots relief program has, at least, proven to be a positive outcome. The Hurricane Emergency Relief Fund (HERF), launched August 31st by Blood Centers of America, Inc. (BCA) using online giving tools and tracking supplied by Global Blood Fund (GBF), raised $27,571 over the subsequent six weeks. ABC, BCA, Cerus Corp., and a half dozen blood centers deserve special recognition for actively promoting this campaign. Read Full Post >