China Investigates H.I.V.-Tainted Blood Plasma Treatment Scandal

Blood Samples
Samples of blood inside a container tube. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Shanghai officials initiated their investigation on the reported incident involving a Chinese pharmaceutical company that was allegedly have sold not less than 12,000 units of a blood plasma product contaminated with H.I.V. The incident is the latest scandal faced by the country's medical institutions that have threatened to gain mistrust from the public.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration released a statement on Wednesday on their website that authorities ordered the Shanghai Xinxing Medicine Company to start the recall and halt the production of the potentially contaminated batch of intravenous immunoglobulin which is a treatment made from pooled blood plasma that is often used to treat immune disorders.

The nation's National Health Commission and the State Drug Administration mandated all medical institutions all over the country to stop the use of the questioned units in question and to monitor the patients who have been administered the treatment. There was no data on the actual number of patients that were treated with the blood product.

On Wednesday, inspectors from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) announced that the samples that they have tested from the 12,229 bottles of intravenous immunoglobulin are not contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis B and C.The statement contradicts the claims of China's medical watchdog, National Health Commission.

Jiangxi province's provincial health commission and disease control center said that they have found traces of HIV in the batch. However, the disease control center told The Beijing News on Wednesday that they were unable to discover any cases of HIB on the patients. According to a source's statement for the China Business Journal, the batch of 50ml bottles will expire in June 2021.

The immunoglobulins are produced by the white blood cells and it acts as antibodies that are used in treating immune deficiencies caused by illnesses that include leukemia, hepatitis, and rabies.

In July, the NMPA was also involved in a major rabies vaccine scandal. According to its orders given to regulators in Shanghai, they need to conduct on-site inspections at the pharmaceutical company. The NMPA also sent officials to Jiangxi.

In a separate statement, regulators in Shanghai said that it had halted production at the company, they had recalled all affected treatments, and sent samples for inspection.

 The country's health services were involved in a series of scandals. Parents in the Jiangsu province protested after it was revealed that 145 children were treated with expired polio vaccines. The incident led to the investigation of 17 local officials.

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