Virus find prompts blood tests

The Health Ministry yesterday promised stricter tests on blood reserves after it emerged that the hepatitis C virus was detected in a plasma unit sent to the Netherlands for processing, but said nobody is known to have been infected so far with products taken from the same sample in Greece. In response to a question tabled in Parliament by opposition New Democracy MP Athanassios Yiannopoulos, the ministry confirmed that the offending sample came from Greece. «There is only the potential threat that one person alone may have been infected, if it is proved that he or she received a transfusion of red blood cells that were separated from the [infected] plasma,» a ministry statement said. But it added that the batch may never have been used, as it could have been destroyed for having surpassed its expiration date. «Blood in Greece is safe,» the statement said. The offending plasma was produced at Greece’s National Blood Products Center, and was sent to the Netherlands on April 3. But PCR (Polymerase Chain Reactions) testing there revealed contamination with the hepatitis C virus.

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