China: Tests of possibly tainted medical product show no HIV

Henrietta Strickland
February 10, 2019

The Beijing News said the Chinese National Health Commission (NHC) had advised hospitals across the country to stop using the contaminated batch and monitor all patients who have been administered the treatment. Doctors, in seeking to trace the source of the HIV infection, found it was from receiving injections of immunoglobulin produced by Shanghai Xinxing.

In July previous year, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration found vaccine manufacturer Changseng Biotechnology had violated standards in the production of a rabies vaccine. The HIV antibodies in the 50ml vials of the product were first detected by the Jiangxi Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The media report said the batch contained 12,226 doses due to expire in 2021.

Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy is often used to treat immune disorders caused by illnesses such as leukaemia, or acute inflammation and chemotherapy infections.

China is hit regularly by quality-control scandals, fuelling fear over the safety of food and medicines and anger at regulatory lapses. So far there have been no reported cases of any patients having become infected from the IVIg.

Inspectors from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) said on Wednesday that samples they had examined from a batch of 12,229 bottles of intravenous immunoglobulin were free of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Public faith in China's health regulators has been shaken by previous scandals. All the related production and inspection records have been sealed. Wu, one of four CFDA officials being investigated, was in charge of China's vaccine regulation at the time.

The NMPA's apparent clearance of the blood plasma treatments on Wednesday came four days after Wu Zhen, the former deputy head of the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) - which oversees the NMPA - was handed over to the judiciary system for investigation by the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog in relation to the rabies vaccine scandal. Most offices in China are shut for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. During the 1990s and early 2000s, thousands of Chinese were infected with HIV when they sold or received transfusions of tainted blood products.

The NHC, citing worldwide medical literature and findings, maintained chances of contracting HIV infection are extremely low for patients that have been administered the contaminated blood plasma. Towns that were particularly hard-hit, many in Henan province, became known as "AIDS villages". "Yet the people responsible for it have never been brought to account, nor have they uttered a single word of apology".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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