Gambro Announces Successful Research Results for Inactivation of West Nile Virus in Donated Blood

Vitamin-Based Pathogen Reduction Technology Kills Virus to Limits of Detection in Red Blood Cells, Platelets and Plasma

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 8, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Gambro AB (Other OTC:GAMBF) (Stockholm:GAMBa) (Stockholm:GAMBb), a leading international medical technology and healthcare company, today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Gambro BCT, Inc., released results from a study of the effectiveness of Gambro's riboflavin-based Pathogen Reduction Technology for neutralizing West Nile Virus in donated blood products. The results of the study indicate that a process combining riboflavin (vitamin B2) with light is effective in inactivating West Nile Virus from an infected unit of blood.

The study, performed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases in Fort Collins, Colorado, took deliberately infected blood components and treated them with riboflavin plus light. The results showed that West Nile Virus was inactivated, whether in donated plasma, platelets, or red blood cells, by the riboflavin-light combination. The process uses visible light to inactivate pathogens in red blood cells and UV light to inactivate pathogens in platelets and plasma.

Dr. Delbert Antwiler, Project Leader for the Gambro BCT Pathogen Reduction Technology team, presented the results of the study at the FDA Workshop on Development of Donor Screening Assays for West Nile Virus in Washington, D.C. on November 4-5, 2002.

Gambro BCT Pathogen Reduction Technology clearly demonstrates inactivation of West Nile Virus in platelets, plasma and red blood cells.

The study produced viral kill rates of greater than 4 Logs/mL for platelets, greater than 5 Logs/mL for plasma, and greater than 6 Logs/mL for red blood cells. The Gambro BCT process is the only pathogen reduction technology that uses the same simple process for all three blood components. Riboflavin activated by light attacks the DNA of the pathogens, rendering them unable to replicate. The technology also inactivates white blood cells.

"This important study is the first step in validating the usefulness of the riboflavin process toward diminishing the threat of West Nile Virus from the blood supply," said Dr. Ray Goodrich, Chief Science Officer for the Gambro BCT Pathogen Reduction Technology team. "We believe that our pathogen reduction technology will provide the ability to help protect future transfusion recipients from emerging blood borne pathogens like West Nile."

Cases of West Nile Virus increase dramatically in 2002.

West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals. Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus will either have no symptoms or only mild ones. However, on rare occasions, West Nile Virus infection can result in severe and sometimes fatal illnesses. Already ill patients, such as those likely to be receiving blood, are particularly at risk.

The recent epidemic of West Nile Virus infections has raised concern that the virus can be transmitted through blood transfusions. Currently transmission by blood transfusion has not been definitively proven, however, during this year's outbreak there were several cases in patients who had received blood transfusions. Additionally, West Nile Virus has been confirmed in epidemiological surveys in the case of four patients who received organs from a single organ donor.

Currently there are no tests available to screen blood and organ/tissue donors for the West Nile Virus.

Gambro BCT Pathogen Reduction Technology meets blood center requirements.

Gambro BCT has done extensive research with potential users of pathogen reduction technology including physicians, blood center personnel, and the general public. The needs are very clear. To be effective and useful, pathogen reduction technology must inactivate viruses, bacteria, and parasites and remain free of toxicity for the patient and the blood handlers. It must also be a simple process that does not dramatically impact the collection and production procedure.

"Because our system uses riboflavin, a natural, non-toxic substance, we have not had to add complex, time-consuming cell washing steps to eliminate toxicity," said Dr. Goodrich. "The Gambro BCT pathogen reduction technology is safe, simple and, most important, effective."

Gambro is a global medical technology and healthcare company with leading positions in renal care -- services and products -- and blood component technology. Gambro Healthcare is one of the leading providers of kidney dialysis services in the world with more than 52,700 patients in 688 clinics worldwide. Gambro Renal Products comprises dialyzers, dialysismachines, blood lines and dialysis concentrates. Gambro BCT is the market leader in separation and handling of blood components. The group, with 2001 revenues of approximately SEK 27 billion (USD 2.7 billion), has 20,900 employees in some 40 countries.

Gambro AB, A public company (publ):

 Reg no. 556041-8005
 Jakobsgatan 6
 PO Box 7373, SE-103 91
 Stockholm, Sweden
 Tel +46 8 613 65 00
 Fax +46 8 611 28 30

This information was brought to you by Waymaker

The following files are available for download:


Contact Data