Screening blood for vCJD unrealistic21st October 2008
A government advisory committee has said that to screen blood donations for Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) could "scare off donors".
Although a test for vCJD could exist by 2010, it might prove unreliable and give a false positive result.
The Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs advisory committee said it would think about supporting a test which was 100% accurate.
Four people who have received donor blood in the UK are known to have been infected by the disease.
The government has imposed protective regulations to ensure people who require transfusions do not contract vCJD.
Any blood given by someone who goes on to develop vCJD is destroyed and no person who has received donated blood since 1980 can donate blood.
White blood cells (the cells which are "most likely" to be infected) are removed from blood for transfusions.
A study carried out in 2004 of 13,000 appendix and tonsil samples showed that many people could have vCJD without knowing about it. As many as one in four thousand people could have the disease.
However, scientists are unsure how long, if ever, a person who tested positive for vCJD would take to show symptoms of the disease.
Professor John Forsythe, chair of the advisory committee, said: "If you have a test done and there is a possibility of a false positive of a disease for which there is no treatment at the moment that is very worrying."
"It might put anyone off donating."
A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said: "There remains a great deal of uncertainty about this disease, including when infectiousness becomes identifiable in the blood. A rigorous procedure has been designed to evaluate candidate human blood tests."
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Thursday 23rd October 2008 @ 7:51
There is a way to avoid the transmission of vCJD through blood transfusion: prion removal blood filters. These filters are commercially available. They remove more than 99.9% of the possible infectivity in a red cell blood bag.
Why not using prion removal filter? This solution will avoid false positive testing and will avoid vCJD transmission through blood.
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Title: Screening blood for vCJD unrealistic
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 8834
Date Added: 21st Oct 2008