The taintedblood Timeline - what really happened...
The pioneering work of scientist Michael Houghton, Ph.D. and colleagues Qui-Lim Choo, Ph.D. and George Kuo, Ph.D. goes back as far as 1982.
On 18th November 1987, Chiron Corporation filed a priority application in the USA for a patent describing the cloning and characterization of Hepatitis C virus as the causative agent of Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis.
The development of HCV tests then followed, with Chiron developing an alliance with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. Understandably, following these discoveries, time was required in order to validate and register the HCV assay globally.
The following timetable shows when various countries commenced anti-Hep C screening in relation to the Ortho test evaluation and trials:
|Mar 1990||France (1 March): Luxembourg (new donors only, 1 March)|
|Apr 1990||Finland (1 April – all donations: partially started 1 February)|
|May 1990||Austria (2 May): Amsterdam (other Netherlands Centres later)|
|Jun 1990||Canada: Germany (by 1 July)|
|Jul 1990||Belgium (1 July)|
|Aug 1990||Switzerland (1 August)|
|Sep 1990||Luxembourg (all donors)|
|Oct 1990||Italy: (many centres)|
|Oct 1990||Spain: (all by 12 October, some earlier)|
|Jan 1991||Sweden (legal requirement published 24 January to start as soon as possible)|
|Mar 1991||(not before Mar) Portugal (mandatory)|
|Mar 1991||(some earlier): Cyprus: Greece: Hungary: Iceland: Malta||Apr 1991||Netherlands (mandatory 1 April)tr>||Jun 1991||Denmarktr>||Aug 1991||Italy (balance)tr>||Sep 1991||UK (1 September)tr>||Sep/Oct 1991||Ireland|
Note: It is clear that the United Kingdom were in no hurry to introduce anti-HCV screening. Indeed, they could be said to have deliberately procrastinated, making them the last-but-one country in this list to introduce screening. This is consistent with what the Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry report referred to as an over-optimistic "wait and see" stance, instead of taking the maximum precautionary approach. It is also possible to learn more about what can only be described as procrastination and stalling of the introduction of HCV testing by reading Chapter 9 of the Penrose Preliminary Report.
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