The taintedblood Timeline - what really happened...
Note: This letter suggests that some sort of early blood test was available for HIV (probably termed HTLV-III) as early as June 1983. The date of the test is June 30th at Walsgrave Hospital Blood Bank, and the letter goes on to offer the results by 11 July 1983, which is just 11 days later.
"Since my minute of 6 July there have been further developments regarding the radio immunoassay for antibody to HTLV III. Some 2,000 tests have been carried out on AIDS patients..."___________
Note: It is clear that in order for some 2,000 tests to have been carried out on Aids patients by the time the DHSS minute was written on 6th July 1984, the early diagnostic tests must have been available some months prior to this time...
Background: We know that by the Summer of 1984, the PHLS had access to 'in house' anti-HTLV-3 assays which were being developed in UK research laboratories.
Production, Evaluation & Introduction of Screening Tests
Summer 1984: "In house" anti-HTLV3/LAV assays developed in a few foreign and UK research laboratories. PHLS Virus Reference Laboratory (VRL) and the Middlesex Hospital available as primary testing centres.
NOTE: The discovery of this new information within the latest DOH FOI release (20.05.09) is very important because we are now learning just how early on in time the diagnostic assay for Aids antibodies was available - but only to certain bodies, such as the PHLS. For the actual screening of the UK's blood donors, we had to wait another year and 3 months - i.e. until 14th October 1985, when the UK implemented Donor Screening. This is very disturbing.
Type: DOH FOI Document - PHLS Flowchart for the Introduction of the Anti-HTLV-III / LAV Assay. 4th June 1985
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"The note might also need to deal with the question of publicising the research in such a way as both to take credit for Government support for development of the test and to make it clear that the arrangements at the North West London RTC were experimental, ie to forestall pressure for the immediate availability of the test throughout the blood transfusion service and more generally through GPs and STD clinics." (Paragraph 3)
Note: It is not altogether clear what is being implied by this letter. However, it can be said that in a DHSS letter dated 4 days early (27 July 1984), that the radio immunoassay for antibody to HTLV III had already been used to test some 2,000 AIDS patients. (see additional source link below).
Type: Development - Test Results
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Dr Tedder: "the Gallo cell line was available for investigation although the USA had made the isolates difficult to obtain." (Page 1, item 2, point i)
Dr Craske: Under the subject heading "Availability of Tests", Dr Craske advised that currently, the reagents were only available on a research basis, and that substantial resources would be required to enable the proposed workload to be undertaken. (Page 2, point ii)
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