First patient joins chikungunya and dengue safety risk study

First patient joins chikungunya and dengue safety risk study | Courtesy of
The first patient recently joined the Cerus Corp. study, in collaboration with the American Red Cross (ARC), to determine the safety risks of INTERCEPT Blood System platelets to treat chikungunya and dengue virus.

The Treatment UsE (TRUE) study, which is taking place in Puerto Rico, is implementing INTERCEPT platelet components from the ARC. Part of the Expanded Access Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), the ultimate goal of the research is to make the treatments available throughout the US.

"We congratulate the American Red Cross on successful implementation of the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets in Puerto Rico," Cerus Chief Medical Officer Laurence Corash said. "We look forward to working with them as more patients enroll in the TRUE study."

Dengue viruses are at an endemic status within the Caribbean, and in December 2013 health officials confirmed the first local contraction of chikungunya. Both of these viruses, native to tropical climates, are spread through mosquito bites. The illnesses are found in tropical regions and the Southeastern U.S.   

"With no test available to screen donations for chikungunya infection, investigational pathogen reduction has proven to be a viable alternative for the American Red Cross to implement so that platelet collections were able to resume in Puerto Rico despite the risk of a continuing epidemic," an ARC vice president and one of the study's principal investigators Susan Stramer said. "If chikungunya returns as we enter the next mosquito season, use of the INTERCEPT Blood System is expected to allow the American Red Cross to prevent interruptions in the local platelet supply."