Canada’s tainted blood tragedy of the 1980’s lead to a myriad of costly tests for potential viruses (and other pathogens) in our blood products. While it was the best option available, this extensive testing is unable to insure safety from emerging and unknown risks. There is now a method to universally inactivate all pathogens potentially contaminating blood products. This pro-active approach, known as pathogen reduction technology (PRT), is being applied successfully to the liquid component of blood, called plasma. However, PRT for blood products that contain cells, like platelets, has yet to be perfected. The current research proposal addresses the molecular basis of one of the problems, which is how platelets protect certain viruses from PRT. Using dengue virus as a model known to be protected by platelets, we will evaluate how platelet proteins are changed in response to simultaneous virus and PRT treatment. This will not only provide insight into how the platelet is protecting the virus, suggesting ways to overcome this problem, but will also help to understand the severe sickness dengue virus causes around the globe. As PRT is further developed, it is will further enhance our blood system safety and reduce healthcare costs.
Graduate Fellowship Program