Blood Plasma Product Tested for HIV in China Is Negative

Chinese officials did not say how many patients had been treated with the blood product

Chinese officials did not say how many patients had been treated with the blood product

A large batch of human blood plasma treatment produced by a Chinese pharmaceutical company was found to be contaminated with HIV, according to health authorities. The samples were from a batch of 12,000 plasma products manufactured by Shanghai-based China Meheco Xinxing Pharma Co., Ltd.

China's National Health Commission had earlier said there was a "very low" risk of HIV infection from the batch after a baby was reported to have tested "weak" HIV positive.

So far, there are no reports of patients having contracted HIV, according to Beijing News citing a representative of the Jiangxi Provincial Disease Control Centre.

Last month, China's National Medical Products Administration asked manufacturers to add warnings against potential risks from intravenously-injected human immunoglobulin and frozen human immunoglobulin products, saying the raw materials were derived from human blood.

"Shanghai authorities have run virus tests for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C on the reported batch and they all show negative", the National Medical Products Administration said.

The NHC statement advised hospitals to report any stocks of the treatment and closely monitor the condition of patients who had already been treated with the defective batch.

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

In the 1990s, thousands of cash-strapped villagers in China's central Henan province contracted HIV after being persuaded to sell their blood illegally on the black market.

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.

The IVIg in question was produced by Shanghai Xinxing, which is owned by China's pharmaceutical giant Meheco Group.

One of the biggest scandals, which broke in 2016, saw roughly 2 million improperly stored or expired vaccines used on thousands of Chinese children over five years.

Also see in the New York Times an op-ed by global health expert Huáng Yánzhōng 黄延中: If a government can't deliver safe vaccines for children, is it fit to rule?

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