Holding Policy Is Cost-Effective Way To Further Protect Blood Plasma Supply From HIV And Other Infections

LINTHICUM, MD, April 29 - A study by Yale and CDC researchers suggests that a sophisticated holding policy recently implemented by the blood plasma industry is a cost-effective part of the overall strategy for preventing the spread of HIV and other infections from blood plasma donors to recipients. The paper is being presented at a convention of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) in the Cincinnati Convention Center on Monday, May 3 at 1 PM.

The paper is entitled, "Hold Everything! Holding policies for Protecting Plasma Supplies." The authors are Edward H. Kaplan, Yale School of Management, and Glen A. Satten, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Picking the Better of Two HIV Tests

The authors used operations research and statistical modeling to assess holding periods to reduce the chance of a potentially infectious unit being passed on for further processing. If done correctly, subsequent plasma processing eliminates the risk of HIV transmission through heat treatment. The researchers evaluated two additional measures that would guard against the rare possibility that processing could be done incorrectly.

Considering the sometimes competing pressures of cost vs. safety, they compared two possible strategies for screening plasma donations for HIV before processing: (1) holding all of a donor's blood plasma donations for a specific time and (2) testing the same plasma using a new, expensive screening test called PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

Holding all of a person's blood plasma units for 21 days reduces the probability that an infectious donation escapes detection by 50% at a cost of 29 cents. In contrast, they found, using PCR has the same rate of effectiveness but costs $8, more than 25 times as much.

Achieving the Safest Possible Blood Plasma Supply

A multifaceted approach currently ensures the safety of blood plasma. Advances in testing technol

Contact: Barry List
410-368-6580 pager
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

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