Vietnam uses NAT to screen blood

Mr. Phu Chi Dung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Blood Transfusion and Haematology Institute, said that screening blood to have safe blood is the golden target in blood transfusion as the rate of blood transmitted diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C is quite high in the country.

It is anticipated that NAT screening will reduce the risk of transfusion-related HIV transmission. It is possible that these tests will completely eliminate the risk of transmitting these diseases through blood transfusion.

Nucleic acid amplification technology (NAT) in detecting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV)'s methods can amplify the nucleic acid in a virus more than a million-fold, allowing early detection of minute quantities of virus in the blood.

Through blood tests, the rate of HIV transmission is 0.28 percent; of hepatitis C is 0.4 percent especially of hepatitis B fluctuates from 8 to 25 percent. Meanwhile one person can donate their blood to 1-4 recipients; accordingly, unsafe and careless blood screening will lead to high risk of transmitting these antecedent infectious diseases.

Blood transfusion and haematology clinics in Hanoi, the central province of Thua Thien - Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong delta city of Can Tho must implement NAT  testing which could completely eradicate the transfusion risk of HIV in order to narrow the infectious period (window) between the time of viral exposure and the time a virus can be serologically detected before January 1, 2015 as per the content of the Ministry of Health's circular issued in 2013 instructing the roadmap to implement NAT testing in blood transfusion.

From May, 2014, the Institute in HCMC is the first medical facility in the country to successfully implement the advanced technique helping narrow the infectious period (window) between the time of viral exposure and the time a virus can be serologically detected.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 40 percent of donated blood is not fully tested; consequently, blood recipients could contract the infectious diseases. Medical experts said that giving and receiving blood in the Southeast Asian nations is quite safe, yet the rate of people with infectious diseases who could be transmitted the virus through blood transfusion is still high.

By NHAT TRUONG - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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