West Nile virus in blood: Stability, distribution, and susceptibility to PEN110 inactivation

Thomas Mather, Tsutomu Takeda, Jodie Tassello, Asa Ohagen, Diana Serebryanik, Ed Kramer, Fred Brown, Robert Tesh, Bernadette Alford, John Chapman, Aris Lazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) is the most recent reminder that the blood supply continues to be vulnerable to emerging and reemerging pathogens. A potentially prospective approach to reducing the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections of a known or newly emerging microbe is implementation of a broad-spectrum pathogen reduction technology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility of WNV to PEN110 inactivation in RBCs and to characterize the WNV interaction with blood, including the stability of WNV in RBCs stored at 1 to 6°C, its distribution and infectivity, and its ability to infect WBCs. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Inactivation was performed with three WNV isolates spiked into WBC-reduced RBCs. The stability of the virus was evaluated by spiking two viral loads into RBCs followed by storing at 1 to 6°C for up to 42 days. The distribution of the virus in plasma, RBCs, and PBMCs was evaluated with whole blood from infected hamsters. Finally, in vitro propagation of WNV was evaluated with the THP-1 cell line and primary monocytes. RESULTS: The kinetics of PEN110 inactivation of WNV isolates RI-44, NJ-176, and 99-3494031 were fast and complete within 24 hours with reduction factors of 5 to 7 log plaque-forming units per mL. WNV remained infectious for up to 42 days at 1 to 6°C. The WNV titers in whole blood, plasma, RBCs, and PBMC fractions were equally distributed and ranged from 2 to 3 log tissue culture infectious dose 50 percent per mL. Productive infection of stimulated monocytes and THP-1 cells was also demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: These studies demonstrated that PEN110 efficiently inactivated WNV in RBCs and whole blood from infected hamsters to the limit of detection. WNV survived in RBCs stored at 1 to 6°C with a gradual loss of titer but infectivity could still be observed for up to 42 days. In addition, it was observed that WNV was equally distributed in all blood fractions including PBMCs and it was possible to establish productive infection of a human monocytic cell line and stimulated human monocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1037
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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