July 19, 2006
A new system to screen blood, tissue and organ donors for hepatitis B has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The system, which combines two tests from Abbott Laboratories, tests blood samples for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen, then confirms the infection. It can also screen blood from cadavers for organ and tissue donation. The test is tamper-resistant and fully automated, FDA said, reducing the possibility of operator error. "Improvements in blood donor screening and testing over the last few years have helped make the nation's blood supply safer from infectious diseases than it has been at any other time," said Jesse Goodman, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.