Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) has received a grant of 2 million Swiss Francs (about $2.1 million) from the Swiss Red Cross Humanitarian Foundation. The fund will support a clinical program aimed at improving blood safety in Africa. The grant was awarded to Cerus, the Swiss Transfusion SRC and the University Hospital of Basel who are working on the blood safety program.
Completing clinical studies
Cerus and its partners are developing pathogen inactivation technology. The target market for the system is Africa, a region still challenged by blood safety issues that are affecting blood transfusion interventions.
Unlike in developed countries where patients can receive red cell, plasma and platelet transfusions without much problems, whole blood transfusions remain the standard practice in many if not all of African countries. To contain the risks of whole blood transfusions, a robust pathogen inactivation system that meets Africa’s needs is required and that is where Cerus and its partners come in.
Life-saving intervention in Africa
Some of the medical conditions requiring transfusion in Africa as part of life-saving intervention include sickle cell, childhood anemia and obstetric hemorrhage. However, diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya pose a challenge to a safe blood supply in Africa because the infections can be transmitted from donor to recipient.
The high rate of infectious agents in donor blood and the shortage of infrastructure to ensure blood safety have complicated life-saving interventions in Africa. That has necessitated the need for a robust pathogen inactivation technology. According to Cerus CEO, Rudolf Schwabe, the technology they are working on can significantly improve blood safety in Africa, thus restoring hope to many patients in the region who need transfusions to save their lives.
Cerus has developed a manual blood pathogen inactivation technology that can be used to make transfusion blood safe even in remote hospitals in Africa that do not have access to electricity. It is a technology that the company believes has tremendous potential to transform the blood safety landscape in Africa.