The taintedblood Timeline - what really happened...
Sir Donald Acheson, October 1985: "These data show that HTLV3 infection:
- has increased in prevalence among homosexuals in London. Elsewhere it may also be increasing in prevalence but remains less common that [than?] in the capital;
- It is prevalent among haemophiliacs, particularly sufferers from Type 'A' haemophilia. Fortunately however no new cases of infection should now occur in this group;
- it has appeared, so far at low prevalence among female partners of haemophiliacs;
- it remains relatively uncommon among drug abusers."
NOTE: We must point out that the CMO's comment was somewhat overconfident since that very same month, there was the third is a spate of cases of seroconversion in UK haemophiliacs associated with the use of an imported commercial concentrate; Armour's H.T. Factorate - and this was only 2 and a half months after the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (Dr E. Harris, DCMO) had expressly stated that:
"all commercial Factor VIII imported into this country is also heat treated. There would thus appear to be no longer any need to use un-heat-treated Factor VIII concentrate." (August 1985).
Apart from the complete underestimation of the ongoing risk to spouses, by November 1985, there is hearsay evidence that even more haemophiliac patients are seroconverting to become anti-HTLV III positive despite having received heat-treated Factor VIII. Even as late as February 1986, we still have a new HIV infection in a UK haemophiliac caused by Armour batch A28306.
Type: DOH FOI Document - CMO Final Draft of Speech to PHLS on AIDS. 24 October 1985.
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"Doctors in Amsterdam reported that a 27-year-old man had been infected after being given supplies of the blood clotting agent which had been heat-treated to kill the virus..."
"Senior Department of Health and Social Security officials were studying the report yesterday."
"Two months ago the Government's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Donald Acheson, dismissed evidence that Dutch patients had been infected by heat-treated Factor 8, and assured British haemophiliacs that US supplies were safe."
Legal Note: There was little question, in this case, of a clear causal relationship between the conduct of a US blood product manufacturer and the result of this commercial product on the patient - since the Amsterdam-based physicians had reported in the Lancet that their patient had been given exclusively heat-treated Factor VIII originating from the United States.
NOTE: There were grave consequences to the CMO's dismissal of the Dutch evidence. Only a week later, (on 21 February 1986) Armour batch A28306 is found to be the likely cause of HIV infection in a UK haemophiliac. By late September '86, Armour's H.T. Factorate is again reported to have led to seroconversions in another two haemophiliacs in the UK.
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