|The combination of both serological testing and nucleic acid testing has considerably reduced the risk of hepatitis B viral transmission through blood transfusions. — Photo vov.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — The combination of both serological testing and nucleic acid testing has considerably reduced the risk of hepatitis B viral transmission through blood transfusions, according to the Blood Transfusion Hematology Hospital in HCM City.
The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was reportedly high in Viet Nam, accounting for 8-25 per cent of the population, Phu Chi Dung, director of the hospital, said at a meeting held yesterday in HCM City.
The prevalence rate of HBV infection in blood donors was 11.4 per cent, he said.
The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and HIV-1 was 0.4 per cent and 0.28 per cent of the population, respectively.
Given the potential transmission of viruses during the immunological window period (the period of early infectivity when an immunologic test is non-reactive), nucleic acid testing (NAT) has significantly increased sensitivity to detect infected blood components, according to the director.
The primary benefit of NAT is a reduction of risk from donations taken during the infectious window period.
Thus, this reduces the risk of acquiring transfusion-transmitted infections such as HIV-1 and -2, HCV, HBV.
In Viet Nam, NAT testing of donations is rather low compared to other parts of the world, about 10 per cent of total donations. The high cost of equipment and medicine used during the test has contributed to the lack of testing.
Both serological testing and NAT have been used at two blood transfusion hematology hospitals in Ha Noi and HCM City since the beginning of the year.
HCM City plans to establish four satellite blood banks in the city's gateway areas to collect blood from neighbouring provinces for both serological testing and NAT.
The blood bank at the Blood Transfusion Hematology Hospital in HCM City has the largest amount of donated blood in the country.
Last year, the hospital collected 250,000 units of donated blood, one-fourth of the country's blood collection. — VNS