During the spring, the Chamber gathered a group of representatives from the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (STBTC), the City, and Bexar County along with local health officals to disucss the potential impact of the Zika Virus on our community’s blood supply. Earlier this summer, San Antonio’s own U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett sent letters to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the hope that they would begin Zika blood testing, a measure that has already been enacted here in San Antonio.

On August 26, the FDA issued a press release recommending universal testing of donated blood for the Zika virus.

“There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said. “At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion.”

Congressman Doggett was pleased to hear this news after lobbying for the FDA to adopt this change for the past few months.

“I am very pleased that the nation will follow San Antonio’s lead in safeguarding our vital blood supply,” Doggett said. “I took action after being contact by Elizabeth Waltman, Chief Operating Officer of the STBTC. I am grateful for her raising this issue and pleased that we were able to move the FDA to act.”

Waltman expressed her gratitude to Congressman Doggett for his help.

“The safety of the blood supply is paramount,” Waltman said. “The partnership between our organization and Rep. Doggett’s office has helped to protect that national interest.”

Want to become a member of the Chamber?