Hematology: Crackdown on Plasma

Plasma is a has-been—or should be. Yet each year an estimated 100,000 Americans receive transfusions of plasma, which is the almost colorless liquid portion of whole blood that has been collected from many donors and pooled. Used after burns, wounds or hemorrhage, it is credited with having saved the lives of countless accident victims and battle casualties. All too often, however, pooled plasma carries hepatitis virus, and its assorted proteins may cause severe allergic-type reactions. Last week the Division of Biologies Standards, the Federal Government's watchdog over all medicinal preparations containing...

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