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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Food and Drug Administration

[Docket No. FDA-2011-D-0799]

Guidance for Industry: Use of Nucleic Acid Tests on Pooled and Individual Samples From Donors of Whole Blood and Blood Components, Including Source Plasma, To Reduce the Risk of Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus; Availability

AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.
ACTION: Notice.
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a document entitled "Guidance for Industry: Use of Nucleic Acid Tests on Pooled and Individual Samples from Donors of Whole Blood and Blood Components, including Source Plasma, to Reduce the Risk of Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus," dated October 2012. The guidance document provides recommendations on the use of FDA-licensed nucleic acid tests (NAT) to screen blood donors for hepatitis B virus (HBV) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and recommendations for product testing and disposition, donor management, methods for donor requalification, and product labeling. In addition, the guidance provides notification that FDA considers the use of an FDA-licensed HBV NAT to be necessary to reduce adequately and appropriately the risk of transmission of HBV. The guidance is intended for blood establishments that collect Whole Blood and blood components for transfusion or for further manufacture, including recovered plasma, Source Plasma and Source Leukocytes. The guidance announced in this notice finalizes the draft guidance of the same title, dated November 2011. The guidance also supplements previous memoranda and guidance from FDA concerning the testing of donations for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and the management of donors and donations mentioned in those documents.
DATES: Submit either electronic or written comments on Agency guidances at any time.
ADDRESSES: Submit written requests for single copies of the guidance to the Office of Communication, Outreach and Development (HFM-40), Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration, 1401 Rockville Pike, suite 200N, Rockville, MD 20852-1448. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist the office in processing your requests. The guidance may also be obtained by mail by calling CBER at 1-800-835-4709 or 301-827-1800. See theSUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATIONsection for electronic access to the guidance document.

Submit electronic comments on the guidance tohttp://www.regulations.gov.Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul E. Levine, Jr.,Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (HFM-17), Food and Drug Administration, 1401 Rockville Pike, suite 200N, Rockville, MD 20852-1448, 301-827-6210.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

FDA is announcing the availability of a document entitled “Guidance for Industry: Use of Nucleic Acid Tests on Pooled and Individual Samples from Donors of Whole Blood and Blood Components, including Source Plasma, to Reduce the Risk of Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus,” dated October 2012. FDA is providing blood establishments that collect Whole Blood and blood components for transfusion or for further manufacture, including recovered plasma, Source Plasma and Source Leukocytes, with recommendations concerning the use of FDA-licensed NAT to screen blood donors for HBV DNA. FDA is also providing these blood establishments with recommendations for product testing and disposition, donor management, methods for donor requalification, and product labeling.

In addition, FDA is notifying those blood establishments that FDA considers the use of an FDA-licensed HBV NAT to be necessary to reduce adequately and appropriately the risk of transmission of HBV. FDA-licensed HBV NAT can detect evidence of infection at an earlier stage than is possible using previously approved HBsAg and anti-HBc tests. Therefore, FDA is recommending the use FDA-licensed HBV NAT, in accordance with the requirements under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations, 610.40(a) and (b) (21 CFR 610.40(a) and (b)).

The guidance supplements previous memoranda and guidance from FDA to blood establishments concerning the testing of donations for HBsAg and anti-HBc, and the management of donors and donations mentioned in those documents. Note that testing Whole Blood and blood components for transfusion and Source Leukocytes for further manufacture for HBsAg and anti-HBc, and Source Plasma for HBsAg, should continue when a blood establishment implements HBV NAT. FDA may consider advancements in technology for testing blood donations, as well as data obtained following the implementation of HBV NAT, to make future recommendations on adequate and appropriate testing for HBV.

In theFederal Registerof November 28, 2011 (76 FR 72950), FDA announced the availability of the draft guidance of the same title, dated November 2011. FDA received several comments on the draft guidance and those comments were considered as the guidance was finalized. In addition to minor editorial changes made to improve clarity, changes to the draft guidance include revised labeling recommendations and an extension of the time for implementation of the guidance to 6 months after publication of the final guidance. The guidance announced in this notice finalizes the draft guidance dated November 2011.

The guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents FDA's current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirement of the applicable statutes and regulations.

II. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This guidance refers to previously approved collections of information found in FDA regulations. Thesecollections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in § 601.12 and in §§ 606.121 and 610.40 have been approved under OMB control numbers 0910-0338 and 0910-0116, respectively.

III. Comments

Interested persons may submit either written comments regarding this document to the Division of Dockets Management (seeADDRESSES) or electronic comments tohttp://www.regulations.gov.It is only necessary to send one set of comments. Identify comments with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document. Received comments may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will be posted to the docket athttp://www.regulations.gov.

IV. Electronic Access

Persons with access to the Internet may obtain the guidance at eitherhttp://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/default.htmorhttp://www.regulations.gov.

Dated: November 7, 2012. Leslie Kux, Assistant Commissioner for Policy.