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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 11:13 GMT
Hepatitis C - a timeline

Health Minister Susan Deacon has refused to pay compensation to haemophiliacs in Scotland who contracted hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1980s.

Her decision follows an inquiry which has cleared the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) of any blame.

This is how the story developed:

Late 1983 - SNBTS prepares a batch of pasteurised factor VIII for clinical evaluation

January 1984 - First patient in clinical evaluation for SNBTS pasteurised factor VIII suffers adverse reaction and the trial is abandoned.

1984 - The Plasma Fractionation Laboratory (PFL) in Oxford (a pilot plant laboratory for Bio Products Laboratory in Elstree) manages to dry heat a factor VIII product to 80C for 72 hours.

It was expected that this would give greater protection against HIV. There was no indication whether this temperature would have an effect on the agent responsible for Non A, Non B hepatitis (NANBH) - not at that time recognised as (SNBTS) decides to keep trying to develop pasteurisation.

December 1984 - SNBTS is able to heat treat a year's supply of factor VIII at sufficient temperatures to render it HIV-safe.

September 1985 - BPL heat treating all of its factor VIII at 80C for 72 hours. This accounts for 25% of the requirement in England and Wales.

August 1986 - SNBTS produces the first trial batches of its new factor VIII product heat treated to 80C for 72 hours.

September 1986 - A BPL/PFL preliminary report is published which indicates that heat treatment of factor VIII at 80C for 72 hours might prevent the transmission of NANBH.

March 1987 - The clinical trial of the SNBTS factor VIII product (heat-treated at 80C for 72 hours) was completed.

April 1987 - SNBTS factor VIII product (heat-treated at 80C for 72 hours) is available for clinical use.

October 1988 - The full results of a study are published in The Lancet showing that heat treatment of factor VIII at 80C for 72 hours is effective against NANBH.

1989 - Hepatitis C virus finally isolated and identified.

1993 - Results published confirming the clinical safety of both SNBTS and BPL products as regards HCV transmission.

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24 Oct 00 | Scotland
Service cleared over blood virus
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