FDA approves test to screen donated blood for Zika virus


The cobas Zika test has been approved for detecting the virus in whole blood, blood components, and donated organs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in a press release.

“Today’s action represents the first approval of a Zika virus detection test for use with screening the nation’s blood supply,” Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a press release. “Screening blood donations for the Zika virus is critical to preventing infected donations from entering the U.S. blood supply.”

CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith
The cobas Zika test is a qualitative nucleic acid test for the detection of Zika virus RNA in individual plasma specimens obtained from volunteer donors of whole blood and blood components, and from living organ donors. It is intended for use by blood collection establishments to detect Zika virus in blood donations, not for the individual diagnosis of Zika virus infection, the press release stated.

In August 2016, the FDA issued a final guidance document recommending that all individual units of whole blood and blood components be screened with an investigational blood screening test available under an investigational new drug application. Data obtained on the cobas Zika test under its investigational new drug application and from additional studies performed by the manufacturer demonstrated that the cobas Zika test is effective. Testing individual samples from blood donations at five external laboratory sites resulted in a clinical specificity exceeding 99%.

The cobas Zika test is intended for use on the fully automated cobas 6800 and cobas 8800 systems. The cobas Zika test, cobas 6800, and cobas 8800 systems are manufactured by Roche Molecular Systems.

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