Nucleic Acid Testing Could Help Detect HIV, Hepatitis C in Tissue Donations, Study Says
August 19, 2004
Nucleic acid testing could help detect HIV, hepatitis C and other viruses in donated human tissue, according to a study published in the Aug. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. NAT, which was developed in 1999, currently is used to screen about 14 million units of donated blood each year (Hostetler, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/19). NAT can detect minute amounts of viral genetic material in pooled plasma samples by amplifying gene fragments of HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus. If a pool tests positive for either virus, the individual sample can be detected and removed from further processing, and the donor can be deferred and notified (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/24/01). Dr. Shimian Zou and colleagues from the American Red Cross, the Puget Sound Blood Center and the Northwest Tissue Center analyzed data from 11,391 tissue donors at several locations between 2000 and 2002 to determine the probability of undetected HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and T-lymphotropic virus, according to Reuters Health. The researchers found that 0.093% of the samples tested positive for HIV; 0.299% tested positive for hepatitis B; 1.091% tested positive for hepatitis C; and 0.068% tested positive for human T-lymphotropic virus. The researchers concluded that with the current testing protocol there is a one in 55,000 probability that HIV-infected tissue will go undetected, according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 8/18). The addition of NAT to the tissue screening process could reduce the probability that donated tissue that is infected with HIV gets through the process to one in 173,000, according to the researchers, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. The researchers said that using NAT would cost $5 per tissue sample (Donn, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 8/18).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.