Advancing Blood Safety Worldwide

The Research Institute is dedicated to advancing blood safety worldwide through scientific research, education and the promotion of evidence-based policies.

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Could a blood test for coronavirus antibodies get California back to normal? Lots of questions remain

4/7/2020

Blood tests for antibodies to the novel coronavirus will be “foundational, fundamental,” to sending Californians back to work, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday. But medical experts caution that there’s still a lot we don’t know about whether the tests are reliable enough to ensure people’s safety.

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Unprecedented nationwide blood studies seek to track U.S. coronavirus spread

4/7/2020

We still don’t know how many people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Not only have countries struggled to roll out wide-scale testing for the virus, those efforts inevitably will miss people who have recovered from an infection. The best way to figure out how far and wide the virus has spread in a population is to look at blood. Antibodies, blood proteins that the immune system produces to attack pathogens, are viral fingerprints that remain long after infections are cleared. Sensitive tests can detect them even in people who never felt a single symptom of COVID-19.

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Bay Area scientists hope coronavirus antibody tests reveal the key to immunity

3/31/2020

In a new frontier to fight COVID-19, Bay Area researchers are racing to develop new blood tests that can not only help diagnose the disease, but could help determine whether people become immune after catching it and lay the groundwork for a vaccine.

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Blood industry collaborates with CDC and NIH on large scale SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing survey
5/28/2020

Blood collection organizations, testing laboratories and affiliated research institutes continue to play a critical role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and blood centers across the country are proud to be at the forefront. 

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What antibody tests can teach us about potential coronavirus immunity
4/22/2020

Antibodies are one of the ways the human body fights infection from the coronavirus. Researchers believe testing for covid-19 antibodies can lead to possible treatments for the virus and help indicate when to reopen society.

Unprecedented nationwide blood studies seek to track U.S. coronavirus spread
4/7/2020

We still don’t know how many people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Not only have countries struggled to roll out wide-scale testing for the virus, those efforts inevitably will miss people who have recovered from an infection. The best way to figure out how far and wide the virus has spread in a population is to look at blood. Antibodies, blood proteins that the immune system produces to attack pathogens, are viral fingerprints that remain long after infections are cleared. Sensitive tests can detect them even in people who never felt a single symptom of COVID-19.

Read more

Could a blood test for coronavirus antibodies get California back to normal? Lots of questions remain
4/7/2020

Blood tests for antibodies to the novel coronavirus will be “foundational, fundamental,” to sending Californians back to work, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday. But medical experts caution that there’s still a lot we don’t know about whether the tests are reliable enough to ensure people’s safety.

Read more

Arizona pilot program to start collecting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients
4/7/2020

People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have an outlet to help those ill with the disease caused by the new coronavirus: Donating their plasma.

In Arizona, a blood donation company, Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services), is starting to allow recovered patients to donate as part of a pilot program.

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Bay Area scientists hope coronavirus antibody tests reveal the key to immunity
3/31/2020

In a new frontier to fight COVID-19, Bay Area researchers are racing to develop new blood tests that can not only help diagnose the disease, but could help determine whether people become immune after catching it and lay the groundwork for a vaccine.

Read more

Vitalant Research Institute’s Brian Custer, PhD, MPH inducted into Hall of Fame
10/17/2019

Vitalant Research Institute is pleased to announce that one of our lead investigators and vice president of research and scientific programs, Dr. Brian Custer, is being inducted into the National Blood Foundation’s (NBF) Hall of Fame.

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Bhardwaj awarded the Cynthia Bolovan-Fritts Research Excellence Award
9/9/2019

Earlier this summer, Pooja Bhardwaj, PhD, was awarded the Cynthia Bolovan-Fritts Research Excellence Award at the 9th annual Bay Area Symposium on Viruses held at UC Berkeley. The award is presented annually to an up-and-coming researcher with the best poster at the symposium.

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Two VRI researchers receive prestigious awards from AABB
8/13/2019

Bethesda, Md. – AABB announced today the names of the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy leaders who will be receiving the Association’s 2019 Memorial Awards. Award recipients will be recognized during the AABB Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Oct. 19-22.

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VRI to participate in a large seven-year blood transfusion research program
5/8/2019

NHLBI of the NIH awarded VRI multiple seven-year contracts for the next evolution of Transfusion Medicine research that will be conducted under REDS. This is the fourth phase (REDS-IV-P) of funding for the REDS programs that VRI/BSRI has received from NHLBI since 1989, making the research institute a 30-year partner in the REDS project history.

Red blood cells' shelf life might depend on donor's genes
1/9/2019

Dr. Michael Busch principal investigator for the RBC-Omics Study, and his partners at RTI and NHLBI provided a summary of the study’s early findings. The study investigates genetic variations in donors and its’ effects on blood storage and cell function. These findings might open the door to a future in which donor genotype is taken into account. Read more about the research here.

Pillai discusses new era for HIV research
11/30/2018

In a recent article published by The Guardian, Dr. Pillai discusses how HIV-infected cells are able to ‘hide’ in the body, and are now being identified and destroyed in a novel strategy. This strategy for finding and destroying this last reservoir of hiding cells could be the key –or holy grail – to eradicating the virus. Read more about the research here.

Tran Receives AABB Top Poster Award
10/12/2018

Dr. Johnson Tran, of Dr. Jackman's lab, received the award for Top Poster at the annual AABB Conference held in Boston. The presentation abstract titled, “Pathogen Reduction of Platelet Rich Plasma Abrogates T Cell Alloresponse in Mice” demonstrated how allogeneic CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation and effector responses were significantly diminished after pathogen reduction with UV+R treatment. Read more about the AABB Conference here.

CHIKV inhibited by neutralizing antibodies
9/25/2018

In the recent issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Dr. Jin et al report that some anti-CHIKV neutralizing mAbs inhibit the budding step of the CHIKV replication cycle by inducing crosslinking of viral GPs at the PM. It is demonstrated that anti-CHIKV neutralizing mAbs crosslink viral GPs at the PM of infected cells, preventing envelopment of nucleocapsids and causing the accumulation of arrested nucleocapsids in the cytosol. Watch here.

Roubinian Receives ECDHM Best Oral Abstract Award
9/7/2018

Dr. Roubinian receives the award for Best Oral Abstract Presentation at the European Donor Health and Outcomes Congress in Copenhagen.   The presentation abstract titled, “Influence of Donor, Component, and Recipient Factors on Efficacy of Erythrocyte Transfusions” examined the role of blood donor, component and transfusion recipient factors on hemoglobin increments following red blood cell transfusion. Read more about the ECDHM Congress here.

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