Confusion in China over medicine suspected of containing HIV

  • Confusion in China over medicine suspected of containing HIV

Confusion in China over medicine suspected of containing HIV

China is investigating a manufacturer of medical products following reports that it sold human immunoglobulin for intravenous injection that had possibly been contaminated with HIV, though the authorities said tests found no sign of the virus. The samples were from a batch of 12,000 plasma products manufactured by Shanghai-based China Meheco Xinxing Pharma Co., Ltd.

China introduced screening of all blood products for HIV after a scandal in the 1990s saw poor villagers paid to illegally donate blood to create plasma products, and then re-injected with pooled blood, leading to a spike in HIV cases.

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.

The products have been distributed nationwide, .so medical institutions across China have been asked to stop using them during the probe. A statement from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) said tests for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C all turned out negative.

There were 12,229 50-mL bottles of blood plasma produced in this batch.

Tests on the suspect batch proved negative for HIV, officials said on Wednesday, following a comment by China's National Health Commission that there was a "very low" risk of HIV infection from it.

Other hospitals in central China's Henan province and in Shanghai also said they are now monitoring their patients.

Immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, are produced by plasma cells to fight pathogens in the body.

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.

China has struggled in the past with the spread of HIV due mainly to infected blood transfusions, according to the BBC, but recent reports show that the number of people in the country contracting the virus in this way has dropped almost to zero.

There has been yet another medical scandal in China.

It is controlled by the listed China Meheco Group, one of China's biggest pharmaceutical firms, which is in turn owned by the China General Technology Group, a state-owned enterprise.

Last month, hundreds of angry parents protested against local government officials in a town in eastern China when it was revealed that more than 100 children had received expired polio vaccines.