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Open Access Review

The variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Risk, uncertainty or safety in the use of blood and blood derivatives?

Antonio Liras

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiology, Biology School, Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain

International Archives of Medicine 2008, 1:9  doi:10.1186/1755-7682-1-9

Published: 23 June 2008


It has been long since French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys carried out the first successful blood transfusion to a human being. Using bird feathers as canules, sheep blood was transfused to a young man. The patient died soon after Denys' treatment and Denys was accused of murder. In the XXI century, known as the biotechnology century, we face new challenges in Medicine. New emerging and reemerging diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or "mad cow disease" and its human variant (vCJD), challenge the biosafety aspects of a widely extended and extremely useful technique, that is, the perfusion of blood, of its derived components and of other pharmacological products obtained from plasma. To face these new challenges we need innovative prevention strategies.

This article is translated from Spanish, originally published in Archivos de Medicina. The original work is at doi:10.3823/005