11 Blood Units Found HIV-Infected In '17'

11 Blood Units Found HIV-Infected In '17'

LUCKNOW, 4 MAY 2018: In 2017, as many as 11units of blood donated at the community blood bank of King George’s Medical University (KGMU) were found to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In past several years, only three to five units of HIV infected blood units had been timely detected annually.


The rise implies that the number of HIV infected persons are increasing, and also that KGMU has been able to detect infected blood with much more precision by using the specialized Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), than the previously used ELISA testing method to check donated blood for preventing infections via blood transfusion. Speaking at a programme on ‘Safe Blood Transfusion: Need of the Hour’, head of transfusion medicine department at KGMU, Prof Tulika Chandra said, “Blood transfusion runs a direct risk of contracting HIV if the blood is infected. We at KGMU have undertaken NAT since 2012. Since then, of the 3,10,000 units tested by NAT, 2,300 were found to be infected with HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C and were thus discarded.”


But, it is not just 2,300 lives, that KGMU claims to have saved, depending on just conducting NAT on blood. “NAT helped save more than 9,000 lives by detecting 2,300 infected blood units that were discarded since four blood components would have been segregated from each unit, which equals to four patients and any one of this unit can be infected,” said Prof Chandra.


She added that the number of HIV infected blood units has grown exponentially while cases of blood infected with Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B have gone down over the years.


“There is an urgent need for blood transfusions to be made safe and the government should take note of this fact. Infected blood can be fatal if transfused to an ailing person. There is a phenomena called horizontal transfusion, which means that a person, transfused with infected blood, can give the infection to others in family through sexual and sometimes other means,” she added.


Prof Chandra added that KGMU and SGPGIMS are the only centres using NAT while other government hospitals are still using the ELISA testing method.


ELISA detects antibodies or antigens produced months after an infection is contracted and is thus futile for recent infections. NAT on the other hand, directly detects DNA or RNA of the infection causing virus present in the blood, making it more accurate. The Times Of India