By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado now has a way to better keep some blood products safe from Zika and other viruses. Bonfils Blood Center is offering the state of the art technology.

It’s called INTERCEPT and that’s basically what it does. It blocks viruses and bacteria from replicating. It’s a new layer of safety for patients in need of platelets.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The INTERCEPT Blood System is the first of its kind technology to rid platelets of a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms that can cause disease.

“The traditional platelet products we’re just screening for bacteria. With INTERCEPT, we’re actually doing something to the product,” said Crystal Stanley, production manager at Bonfils Blood Center.

CBS4's Kathy Walsh interviews Crystal Stanley, production manager at Bonfils Blood Center. (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Crystal Stanley, production manager at Bonfils Blood Center. (credit: CBS)

Specialized production technicians add a photoactive compound that targets RNA and DNA. They put the mixture into the INTERCEPT machine where it’s exposed to UVA illumination. The process inactivates pathogens like West Nile virus and even emerging infections.

“This would inactivate the Zika virus within a platelet product,” said Stanley.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Bonfils points out every blood donation is always subjected to rigorous testing.

“There’s not a test currently in place for Zika, however, the FDA has stated you could use INTERCEPT in place of that infectious disease testing,” said Stanley.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Right now, the University of Colorado Hospital is the first healthcare facility in Colorado to use platelets treated with the INTERCEPT system. Experts believe the added layer of safety could eventually become standard.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.


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