Reasons for undertaking nat NAT testing was initiated by the plasma fractionation industry, and the leader in the field was ImmunoBaxter who started polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)‐1 and hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 1995. At that time, only very few community‐ and/or university‐based blood transfusion services had developed NAT procedures for individual donation screening. The blood transfusion service Northrhein‐Westfalia was the first large Red Cross transfusion service (750 000 donations per year) to start NAT testing on a routine basis in January 1996. From the very beginning, HCV, HIV‐1 and HBV were included. To reduce the work load and costs, testing of more than 3000 individual donor samples per day was introduced using pools of up to 500 samples, which were pretested and found to be negative in antibody enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). NAT was performed at an external commercial laboratory where the pools were ultracentrifuged to concentrate the viruses. First results published in 1996 and 1997 were very exciting, because the yield of 1 in 10 000 HCV NAT‐only‐positives was unexpectedly high. The rates for HIV and HBV were in the expected range of 0 in 650 000
Transfusion Medicine – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 2002
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