Blood Purifier in the Works
Simple process holds promise for killing off even the HIV virus
A new process for purifying blood to rid it of dangerous bacteria
and viruses, including the one that causes AIDS, holds out
hope for making blood supplies far safer, USA Today reports.
to the paper, the process -- called Helinx -- uses ultraviolet
light to treat blood and has proven successful in hundreds of
people across the country. Still, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration isn't expected to approve the process until
next year, after the results of studies on 600 people have
been submitted for review, the story says.
to the paper, one of the great features of the process is its
simplicity. Inside the bags that are used to collect blood
products, there's a solution called a psoralen compound.
"When the donated blood mixes with the solution, the
molecules from the compound mingle with the DNA and RNA of any
virus, bacterium or parasite. When exposed to an ultraviolet
light, the psoralen compound links with the DNA and creates a
permanent bond. When the light is turned off, the chemical
reaction ends but the bonds remain. The chains with the codes
for life then cannot 'unzip' to reproduce, so the disease
cannot spread," the story says.
say the process even kills diseases that are so new they have
not been identified, offering the potential to stop epidemics
before they begin.