The taintedblood Timeline - what really happened...
"West Germany introduced a surrogate test in 1965.""Other European countries such as Italy and France followed suit. The USA introduced surrogate tests in September 1986."
Note: Whilst the main thrust of this entry is to draw attention to the fact that West Germany introduced a surrogate test in 1965, we dispute the reference in the submission that a specific test for HCV was discovered in 1989. We firmly believe that the Chiron Corporation discovered, cloned and sequenced the Hepatitis C virus - the causative agent of Non-A Non-B Hepatitis (NANBH) two years earlier, in 1987. (see related entries link below.)
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.
Surrogate testing involved the use of non-specific tests for the purpose of reducing the incidence of transfusion association NANB Hepatitis. It is notable that routine ALT (alanine aminotransferase) testing was in effect in West Germany from 1965.
|USA||September 1986 onwards||(both)|
|Luxembourg||October 1 1986
Mid 1987 (for new donors)
|France||15 April 1988
3 October 1988
|Switzerland||1 June 1988||(ALT)|
"There was some partial routine ALT testing in certain centres in Austria, Belgium and Spain, from about 1987, and Queensland (alone of the Australian states) introduced compulsory ALT testing in about April 1989. Dr Högman told the Council of Europe in 1987 that Sweden was to introduce anti-HBc testing for first time donors, but he explained in evidence that this was intended in fact as a supplementary Hepatitis B screening. No other countries, so far as is known, ever introduced either test."
Note: It is unsurprising that surrogate testing had not been introduced in the UK - something that the claimants alleged should have happened, especially in light of the fact that the USA introduced both ALT and anti-HBc from September 1986 onwards.
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