FDA grants use of experimental blood test for Zika screening

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials are granting use of an experimental blood test to screen blood for Zika virus, an emergency step that will help protect local blood supplies from the mosquito-borne virus.

The action means U.S. territories with active Zika infections, primarily Puerto Rico, will be able to resume collecting and screening their own blood. Previously, the island of 3.5 million barred local donations and began importing blood from the U.S., following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said Wednesday that use of the test from the drug company Roche could be expanded if the virus spreads to other areas of the U.S. Currently no states have reported local, mosquito-transmitted Zika cases.

Puerto Rico has 350 confirmed cases of the virus, including 40 pregnant women.