FDA Approves Roche's Cobas AmpliScreen Hepatitis B Test for Use in Screening Blood Donors


INDIANAPOLIS -- Roche Diagnostics announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the COBAS AmpliScreen HBV Test for use in a mini-pool format as a screening test for the detection of Hepatitis B (HBV) in donated whole blood, blood components, source plasma and other living donors.  The test is the first nucleic acid test designed for screening whole blood for HBV to be approved by the FDA.


The approval follows a decisive vote in favor of licensure at an earlier Blood Products Advisory Committee of the FDA in 2004, at which time Roche Diagnostics presented results from their related five-center clinical study. Roche Diagnostics submitted a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the FDA, for the COBAS AmpliScreen HBV Test to screen plasma samples from donors of whole blood and blood components, source plasma and other living donor organ components.


"This is an important day for the blood screening community and concludes

a successful effort by Roche Diagnostics, the blood centers and FDA to bring

this important test to market," said Heino von Prondzynski, CEO Division Roche

Diagnostics and Member of the Executive Committee.  "Implementation of the

COBAS AmpliScreen HBV test based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction) ensures

that a highly sensitive and robust technology is being used to keep our

precious blood supply safe."


In the clinical study, the COBAS AmpliScreen HBV identified two HBV

"window cases" (cases within the time between infection and detection of

infection by antigen tests) which may have gone undetected by currently

licensed HBsAg tests.  In these tests, conducted at five blood centers in the

U.S., Roche Diagnostics evaluated 581,790 individual donations in pools of 24.

In addition, Roche Diagnostics presented non-clinical study data illustrating

that the COBAS AmpliScreen HBV Test reduced the window period by an average of

17 days in 40 seroconversion panels when compared to the currently implemented

Hepatitis B surface antigen test.  Following the conclusion of the clinical

study period, three of the five centers voluntarily chose to continue using

Roche Diagnostics' test under a cost-recovery IND (Investigational New Drug)



Since conclusion of the clinical trial period in 2004, three additional

"window cases" out of an additional 1 million donated blood units were

identified using the COBAS AmpliScreen HBV Test.


 "Memorial Blood Centers is proud to have been one of the first three

centers to use the Roche Hepatitis B blood screening nucleic acid testing

assay," said Jed Gorlin, MD, vice president of medical and quality affairs at

Memorial Blood Centers in Minneapolis. "The study clearly documented the

necessity to be vigilant in continuing to screen the blood supply for

Hepatitis B.  The current Hepatitis B surface antigen assays are very

sensitive, but on rare occasions, may still miss small, but potentially

infectious amounts of Hepatitis B."


Source: Roche



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