CHINA

 
Published: Saturday 30 November 1996

After Japan and the us , it is the turn of China. Months of secrecy later, Chinese health officials have confirmed that a certain brand of a common blood product called serum albumin, produced by a military factory, was contaminated with the aids virus. Four months ago, the ministry of public health ordered thousands of state-run medical institutions to stop using serum albumin.

The officials have not yet revealed the extent of damage done to public health due to the contamination. However, no specific cases of patients having contracted the aids virus through serum albumin, which is given intravenously, has been reported. The serum is used to increase immunity to diseases and to treat liver and kidney ailments. This is the first time that China has admitted contamination by hiv and the possibility of negligence by officials in the handling of blood products. It also confirms the suspicions that a large part of blood and blood products in China are not screened for the presence of aids virus.

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