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Quad Cities-Based Blood Center Now Testing For Zika


The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center has begun testing all donated blood for the Zika Virus.  The testing began Monday, well in advance of Friday's deadline set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Chief Executive Officer Mike Parejko says the center had just three months to plan, hire new workers, install equipment, and practice new procedures. And it involved nearly every department.

"Some people think it's just the testing laboratory but that's not the case. This took new supplies, new validations, new standard operating procedures, new staff, hiring new staff so human resources, it took the purchase of new re-agents and new equipment, so it involved finance."

Parejko says the center is now conducting about 750 tests per day on new blood donations, plus another 350 for centers that couldn't start testing as quickly.

Each test costs between 6 and 10 dollars, and he's not sure if the center will get any government help paying for them, along with the associated machines.  

From its headquarters in Davenport, the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center provides blood and blood products to a region that stretches from southwest Wisconsin, through eastern Iowa, western and central  Illinois, all the way to Saint Louis. 

Meanwhile, the Rock River Valley Blood Center met the FDA's deadline Tuesday.   

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.
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