Removing prions that cause mad cow in humans from blood

East Hills, NY (February 8, 2005) - - Assessing the risk of potential exposure to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of 'mad cow disease,' from blood transfusion was the focus of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) Advisory Committee in Silver Spring, Maryland today. In response to the Committee's encouragement that new technologies should be considered that might lead to greater reduction of risk while not deferring many donors unnecessarily, Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL) presented the latest scientific data on its new prion reduction technology. The Leukotrap Affinity Prion Reduction Filter, expected to be launched commercially in Europe this spring, removes infectious prions from red cells, the most widely transfused blood component. Prions are associated with causing vCJD and other fatal neurodegenerative diseases, known as TSEs.

Sam Coker PhD, Principal Scientist and Technical Director of Pall Medical, acknowledged the public health community's heightened concern about the possibility of a second wave of mad cow disease in humans of unknown magnitude globally, including North America. Japan is the latest nation to confirm a human case of mad cow disease.

The unknown time interval between exposure to the infected prion and onset of symptoms exacerbates the challenge of determining the size of a second wave or epidemic. This asymptomatic characteristic poses the key question: How many dormant carriers of vCJD are out there who are at risk of developing clinical disease and who also may be blood donors?

There is currently a ban on blood donations from people who lived in countries with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infected cattle, which can have an impact on availability and result in shortages of lifesaving blood components. A loss of one percent of donors involves approximately 75,000 to 85,000 individuals in the first year, not to mention their future

Contact: Marcia Katz
Pall Corporation

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