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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 254-259

Laboratory strategic defense initiatives against transmission of human immune deficiency virus in blood and blood products

Department of Hematology, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, PMB 1414, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
S G Ahmed
Department of Hematology, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, PMB 1414, Maiduguri, Borno State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Serological methods based on enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot tests for detecting the presence of antibodies against the human immune deficiency virus are the standard techniques for identifying infected blood donors. However, these tests could not detect infected seronegative donors who were in the window period at the time of donation. Such donors can be identified by more elaborate methods including antigen detecting ELISA and polymerase chain reaction, which can detect viral antigens and nucleic acids in infected donor blood even in window period. In addition, the process of donor selection whereby individuals who were at high risk for HIV infections were excluded from the donor panel had substantially reduced the risk of window period donation. Furthermore, in order to ensure greater safety, transfusion centers nowadays undertake additional measures in the form of virucidal techniques such as the use of heat, detergents and photochemical agents to treat blood and blood products. Despite all of these measures, a risk-free transfusion was not practically achievable. However, risk-free transfusion is now possible with the introduction of recombinant blood products, the use of which is severely limited by their cost. Nonetheless, a risk-free transfusion is still achievable at a relatively little cost by transfusing suitably eligible patients with their own blood through the autologous blood transfusion program. Antibody testing is virtually the only method currently available in Nigerian blood banks. There is the need to reactivate and expand the scope of our National Blood Transfusion Service in order to make our blood and products safer.

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