Letter: No hepatitis C risk from us

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The Independent Online
Sir: The article "Haemophiliacs `denied clotting agent' " (17 September) referred to "3,000 - out of a total of 5,000 UK haemophiliacs in the UK - infected with hepatitis C to date". That could be taken to imply that hepatitis C infection is still being transmitted by plasma- derived factor VIII. Over the past 10 years, since we have introduced inactivation procedures into the production of plasma-derived products, there have been no transmissions of hepatitis C (or HIV) reported.

Although hepatitis A is more difficult than hepatitis C, B or HIV to inactivate, the facts speak for themselves: our product is the UK market leader in plasma-derived high-purity factor VIII and has had no record of virus transmission of hepatitis A.

It is worth remembering that recombinant factor VIII is not an "artificial form of the clotting agent factor VIII", as it is produced from living cells. Moreover, in the vial which the patient uses, a human plasma-derived product (albumin) is included as a stabiliser. Thus the product is not "artificial" and may not necessarily be "virus-free".

CLIVE DASH

Medical Director

Bio Products Laboratory,

Elstree, Hertfordshire

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