China: Tests show no HIV in 'tainted' medical item

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The IVIg in question was produced by Shanghai Xinxing, which is owned by China's pharmaceutical giant Meheco Group.

However, the authorities have made conflicting statements about human blood plasma treatments.

In July past year, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration found vaccine manufacturer Changseng Biotechnology had violated standards in the production of a rabies vaccine.

A large number of batch consists of 12,229 50ml bottles of plasma with an expiry date of June 2021, the South China Morning Post reported.

The presence of the HIV virus in the product was first detected by the Jiangxi Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, in southeast China, according to state media. So far there have been no reported cases of any patients having become infected from the IVIg.

Intravenous immunoglobulin, a blood product, prepared from the serum of between 1,000 and 15,000 donors per batch is used for the treatment of low immunity that is triggered by conditions like blood cancer and hepatitis. The National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) yesterday said that samples they had examined were free of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Public faith in China's health regulators has been shaken by previous scandals.

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Following an investigation, 17 officials were fired and expelled from the Party. The authorities had failed to act immediately after finding inconsistencies in the company's records in late 2017.

Shanghai Xinxing is the country's leading manufacturer of blood products.

In July, it was revealed that at least 252,600 doses of substandard DPT vaccine - meant to prevent three infectious diseases - had been sold by Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology and administered to children as young as three months in eight cities.

The ABC approached the China Meheco Group and various government bodies for clarification but was not able to receive a response - most government offices and companies are now closed in China due to Lunar New Year public holiday. According to China's Ministry of Health, over 40 percent of people who gave blood at illegal centers - which numbered in the hundreds - became infected with HIV.

The NHC, citing global medical literature and findings, maintained chances of contracting HIV infection are extremely low for patients that have been administered the contaminated blood plasma.

"The root of AIDS in China was the plasma market", Gao Yaojie, a doctor who helped uncover the cause of the epidemic, told the New York Times in a 2016 interview.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

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