Methylene blue photochemical treatment as a reliable SARS-CoV-2 plasma virus inactivation method for blood safety and convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19

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Abstract

Background: In 2020, a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, quickly spread worldwide within a few months. Although coronaviruses typically infect the upper or lower respiratory tract, the virus RNA can be detected in plasma. The risk of transmitting coronavirus via transfusion of blood products remains. As more asymptomatic infections are identified in COVID-19 cases, blood safety has become particularly important. Methylene blue (MB) photochemical technology has been proven to inactivate lipid-enveloped viruses with high efficiency and safety. The present study aimed to investigate the SARS-CoV-2 inactivation effects of MB in plasma. Methods: The SARS-CoV-2 virus strain was isolated from Zhejiang University. The live virus was harvested from cultured VERO-E6 cells, and mixed with MB in plasma. The MB final concentrations were 0, 1, 2, and 4 μM. The “BX-1 AIDS treatment instrument” was used at room temperature, the illumination adjusted to 55,000 ± 0.5 million Lux, and the plasma was irradiated for 0, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 40 mins using light at a single wavelength of 630 nm. Virus load changes were measured using quantitative reverse transcription- PCR. Results: BX-1 could effectively eliminate SARS-CoV-2 within 2 mins in plasma, and the virus titer declined to 4.5 log10 TCID50 (median tissue culture infectious dose)/mL. Conclusion: BX-1 is based on MB photochemical technology, which was designed to inactivate HIV-1 virus in plasma. It was proven to be safe and reliable in clinical trials of HIV treatment. In this study, we showed that BX-1 could also be applied to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. During the current outbreak, this technique it has great potential for ensuring the safety of blood transfusions, for plasma transfusion therapy in recovering patients, and for preparing inactivated vaccines.

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Jin, C., Yu, B., Zhang, J., Wu, H., Zhou, X., Yao, H., … Wu, N. (2021, December 1). Methylene blue photochemical treatment as a reliable SARS-CoV-2 plasma virus inactivation method for blood safety and convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19. BMC Infectious Diseases. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-05993-0

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