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test to be made mandatory in hospitals soon
Times Of India : Staff Reporter :
Even as the world has entered
a new millennium, there seems to be a growing global burden of
blood-borne diseases, particularly in the third world countries. Lack of
proper screening for the hepatitis viruses could spell doom. This
warning came at a symposium on 'blood safety' jointly organised by the
Surat Raktadan Kendra and Research Centre (SRKRC) and the Surat Medical
Consultants Association (SMCA) in the city.
Paying heed to the
forewarning, the government is expected to make hepatitis-C virus test
mandatory in all government hospitals and blood banks by next month.
With the hope that the
government would expedite the virus test programme in all hospitals, the
100-odd participating delegates, including transfusion and medical
personnel from different blood banks in Gujarat, expressed grave concern about
the burden of blood-borne diseases, particularly in the developing
A team of scientists
representing an 'International Consortium for Blood Safety' (ICBS) was
specially invited to participate in this symposium. Dr Alfred H Prince
from The New York Blood Centre and chairman of ICBS speaking on
'Prevention of hepatitis-B infection' emphasised the role of hepatitis-B
and C viruses in liver cancer.
Highlighting the efforts made
by the USA in achieving zero-risk blood transfusion, Dr. Girish Vyas, a
professor at the University of California, San Francisco said the
prevalence of HIV infection in the USA, amongst blood donors was in the
ratio of 1:10000 and the residual risk of HIV infection after blood
transfusion in the ratio of 1:70000.
The seminar discussed about
the implication of 'nuclear acid amplification test' (NAT) - a molecular
technology, focused on the detection of viral DNA or RNA rather than
antigen and antibody - in reducing infection risk during window periods.
Dr Howard A Fields from the
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention talked about an appropriate
technology for hepatitis-C virus screening and the new breakthroughs
Professor and head of the
transfusion medicine department of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr Zarin
Bharucha talked about achieving blood safety through quality control and
assurance in blood banking.
She said a
plan was afoot to establish centres for confirmation of HIV results and
counselling the HIV positive persons. "This along with hepatitis-C virus
testing would become mandatory by the next month," she added. SMCA
president Ashit Desai, SRKRC vice-president P.K. Desai and SRKRC
director Snehlata Gupta also spoke.