Germs, Gels and Genomes. A Personal Recollection of 30 Years in Blood Safety Testing

  • Roger Y. Dodd
Part of the Developments in Hematology and Immunology book series (DIHI, volume 37)


Thirty years ago, there was but one test to assure the microbiological safety of the blood supply. This was accompanied by a donor questionnaire that focussed on a history of hepatitis, intravenous drug use and international travel. Today, we use 8 to 10 separate tests, designed to detect 12 different infection markers, and the latest version of the uniform donor questionnaire has no less that 32 separate questions (some of which are themselves multi-part), with more waiting in the wings. Over this period, philosophies have changed and cries for increased blood safety have now been replaced by petitions for financial relief to pay for increased blood safety measures. In this chapter, I will retrace some of this history of blood safety, with special reference to test methods. In parallel, I will consider the evolution of decision-making in this area, and will end by questioning the extent to which we, as blood bankers, may have become trapped in our own history.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Window Period Nucleic Acid Test 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Y. Dodd
    • 1
  1. 1.Transmissible Diseases DepartmentAmerican Red Cross Holland LaboratoryRockvilleUSA

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