IPOPI was pleased to participate in the 25th Workshop on “Surveillance and Screening of Blood-Borne Pathogens” organised by the International Plasma Fractionation Association and the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Athens. This very specialised and interesting two-day meeting offered the opportunity to review state of art developments in the field.
The different presentations demonstrated the various means and steps taken by stakeholders to fight pathogens. The battle against pathogens is a hard, continuous one, because of new onsets, mutations, etc. But it is also a global one, as not only birds travel, but more and more people and from all continents. Among the pathogens that were discussed, Hepatitis E Virus (HEV), which often is asymptomatic, was considered in detail, as well as other well-known viruses such as Chikungunya and Zika virus and new emerging ones like Usutu virus.
The meeting’s sessions explored the new technologies used by the industry to provide surveillance and screening as well as the steps taken by regulators and health authorities to select blood donors, so as to optimize the safety of blood, labile blood products and plasma-derived medicinal products. Even if the workshop’s primary focus was on blood. From a viral safety standpoint, it is also important to point out that plasma-derived medicinal products such as immunoglobulins undergo viral inactivation/removal steps which make them very safe medicinal products with no known viral transmission since the mid-1990s.
From a PID patient perspective looking at the risk of infection when travelling to endemic areas where such pathogens are present, it may be worrying to hear about those potential threats even if their incidence is not high and efforts by involved stakeholders are being deployed to fight these pathogens. IPOPI would always recommend PID patients to seek information prior to travelling and when travelling or living in endemic areas cannot be avoided, then consult with a doctor for personalized recommendations about prevention and protection.