SAN JUAN – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made available to Puerto Rico an experimental procedure to detect the presence of the Zika virus in donated blood.
Juan Hernandez Mayoral, director of the Federal Affairs Administration in Puerto Rico, said in a statement that the FDA’s assistance will allow the island’s blood banks to resume operations.
Thanks to the new procedure, Puerto Rico will be able “to guarantee the availability of the resources needed to provide medical services,” Hernandez Mayoral said.
A memorandum released by the FDA on Feb. 16 led to the suspension of blood donations in Puerto Rico to minimize the risks of transmitting the Zika virus.
The U.S. commonwealth’s cash-strapped government was forced to spend thousands of dollars on blood supplies before reaching an agreement with the federal Department of Health and Human Services to make up the shortfall.
Puerto Rican has confirmed 157 cases of infection with Zika, including 16 pregnant women. The virus is suspected of causing birth defects.