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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

    

 

Hepatitis-C virus test to be made mandatory in hospitals soon

21st January 2000
Times Of India :
Staff Reporter :
SURAT :

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 world.

 

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 being achieved.

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.