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Introduction: The Zika Virus (ZIKV) is a single-stranded RNA genome virus, belonging to the family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus. Outbreaks around the world have demonstrated that the presence of asymptomatic viremic blood donors provides an increase in the risk of transfusion transmission (TT) and nucleic acid test (NAT) screening has been proposed to ensure the blood safety. This study implemented an “in-house” method to detect ZIKV RNA in blood sample donations. Methods: Primary plasma tubes are submitted to nucleic acid extraction on an automated platform. After extraction, the NAT set-up is performed in the robotic pipettor, in which an amplification mixture containing primers and probes for ZIKV and Polio vaccine virus (PV) are added in duplex as an internal control. The real-time polymerase chain reaction is then performed in a thermocycler, using the protocol established by the supplier. Results: From May 2016 to May 2018, 3,369 samples were collected from 3,221 blood donors (confidence coefficient 95%), of which 31 were considered false positive (0.92%), as they did not confirm initial reactivity when repeated in duplicates and 14 (0.42%) had their results invalid due to repeat failure in the internal control, 4 (0.12%), due to insufficient sample volume and 2 (0.05%), due to automatic pipettor failures. No Zika RNA reactive sample was identified. Conclusion: The test showed feasible to be incorporated into the blood screening routine. Our data do not indicate the need to screen for ZIKV RNA in São Paulo during the evaluated period. However, a generic NAT system covering a group of flaviviruses which are circulating in the region, such as DENV and YFV, among others, could be a useful tool.
Lira, S. M. da C., Levi, J. E., Bub, C. B., Aravecchia, M. G., Altman, S. N., Sakashita, A. M., & Kutner, J. M. (2022). Zika virus RNA detection in blood donors in São Paulo, Brazil. Hematology, Transfusion and Cell Therapy, 44(4), 472–477. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.htct.2021.03.007
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