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Screening Of Blood Samples For Viruses

Routine screening of blood samples for viral RNA among organ and tissue donors who show no signs of sickness may reduce risk of disease // transmission among transplant recipients, say researchers according to a new study. Testing for the presence of blood antibodies to diseases such as HIV or hepatitis C is the usual method of screening. However, this method is limited. Some donors may be infected with a virus but show a full immune response.

For the study 2,236 organ donors, 636 tissue donors, and 177 cornea donors were involved to determine whether nucleic acid testing (NAT) could identify HIV or hepatitis C RNA in donors who tested negative for viral antibodies.mResults showed five positives for hepatitis C (HCV) RNA among the organ donors and one positive for hepatitis C RNA among tissue donors. There were no positive results for HIV RNA among the donors who tested negative for the antibodies.

Thus reported cases of [hepatitis C virus] transmission to recipients from a seronegative HCV-RNA positive donor suggest that routine NAT screening of organ and tissue donors might increase viral safety in the transplantation setting.

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