Dr S. Madan Mohan, Chief Medical Officer, Red Cross Blood Bank, Vijayawada
In blood bank working and quality maintenance, year by year lots of changes are taking place. Still it has not taken full shape. For example, take apheresis; it was first introduced in the year 1972 and has option of selective collection of blood components. Nowadays it is mostly used for platelets only, but it can be utilized for other components of blood. Even today this facility is not available with many blood banks.
Before 1985 screening tests were not available for HIV. Why? Because, HIV was first identified in the year 1983. Its existence made a lot of changes in blood banks. In the year 1992 HIV and HIV 2 testing of donor blood was implemented. Though ELISA test was introduced in the year 1960,developed versions of ELISA were introduced in the year 1980.
With the ELISA test, conclusion always is a big question mark. There are so many important things we have to take into consideration. In ELISA there are two varieties of kits in the market. They are third-generation and fourth-generation kits. With third-generation kits we can get correct results in two to three weeks of incubation period; however, with fourth-generation kits, results can be obtained within 12 to 15 days. With introduction of fourth-generation kits, most of us prefer the 4th generation kits only, still it is also not the correct solution for HIV tests.Most of the time we have to counsel VBDs to get the correct status of health. Now it is time for the NAT test; though it was introduced in the year 2002 for testing HIV and HCV, it has not been fully introduced in all blood banks, because of its cost.
As per my vision and view, even NAT cannot full fill all requirements, as it requires one week incubation period. It is a challenge for scientists to come out with some new test with affordable price and less maintenance. I humbly request VBDs to cooperate and reveal correct status of the health regarding dangerous exposures prior to Blood Donation Day. If our financial position allows us we will install a NAT testing machine in our blood bank.