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Background

It has been demonstrated that the hepatitis E virus (HEV) can be transmitted via blood transfusion, and the risk of HEV transmission via transfusion has become a major global concern. An HEV culture system for blood-derived HEV has been sought to obtain valuable knowledge of the virus and the risk of HEV infection through blood products.

Study Design and Methods

We endeavored to establish an HEV culture system using RNA-positive blood specimens for Genotypes (G) 3 and 4 and applied this system to evaluate tissue culture infectious dose (TCID). We applied this method to investigate the potential of the Mirasol pathogen reduction technology (PRT) system (Terumo BCT) to inactivate live HEV in contaminated platelet samples (PLTs). PLTs were spiked with cultured HEV G3 or G4 and then treated with the Mirasol PRT system. PLTs were examined before and after the treatment for HEV load using TCID titration.

Results

We successfully established two strains for HEV production: the JRC-HE3 strain for G3 and the UA1 strain for G4. The Mirasol PRT system expressed more than 3 log inactivation for JRC-HE3 and more than 2 log inactivation for UA1.

Conclusion

The Mirasol PRT system inactivated greater than 2 to 3 logs of live HEV in PLTs and can potentially be used to lower the possibility of blood-borne HEV transmission. The G3 and G4 HEV inocula identified in this study and the hepatoma cell culture system provide a new means to assess HEV infectious titer and to evaluate other pathogen reduction strategies.