Our Bureau

Bangalore, Jan. 6

MANIPAL Hospital Blood Bank has introduced a new technology called NAT (Nucleic Acid Technology) to screen donated blood. The new technology to screen for common communicable diseases will ensure that the blood transfusion will be safest for the patients.

"The advantage of this technology is that an infection in the donor blood can now be picked up as early as three days

post-infection, thus, preventing the recipient of blood from becoming infected with HIV or Hepatitis," said Dr Vijay Sharma, Molecular Biologist at the hospital here.

"The screening tests which are done commonly in our country by ELISA or Rapid tests require the presence of anti-bodies to trigger a positive test. The presence of anti-bodies occur between three and six weeks post-infection. However, NAT detects genomic material of viruses through the RNA and DNA without waiting for the anti-bodies to form," said Dr C. Shivaram, Chief - Transfusion Services.

He said that except for a clinical trial from Delhi there is no report of any blood bank screening donated blood for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C by NAT.

The laboratory at Manipal Hospital Transfusion Services in on par with international safety standards. The numerous Thalassemic children and the cancer patients who need regular blood transfusions will benefit from the risk reduction brought about by this technology.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 7, 2006)
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