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Transfus Apher Sci. 2013 Dec;49(3):482-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Nucleic acid testing for blood banks: an experience from a tertiary care centre in New Delhi, India.

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  • 1Department of Transfusion Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. Electronic address: nuts_medico@rediffmail.com.



Blood safety is a challenging task in India; with a population of around 1.23 billion and a high prevalence rate of HIV (0.29%), HBV (2-8%) and HCV (≈ 2%) in general population. Nucleic acid testing (NAT) in blood donor screening has been implemented in many developed countries to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted viral infections (TTIs). NAT shortens this window period, thereby offering blood centers a much higher sensitivity for detecting viral infections.


Routine ID-NAT for HIV-1, HCV and HBV was started from June 2010 at AIIMS blood bank by the Procleix® Ultrio® Assay (Novartis Diagnostics, USA) a multiplex NAT, which allows the simultaneous detection of HIV-1, HCV, and HBV in a single tube. During the period of 27 months from June 2010 to August 2012, around 73,898 samples were tested for all the three viruses using both ELISA (by Genscreen Ultra HIV Ag-Ab(BIO-RAD), Hepanostika HCV Ultra & HBsAg Ultra(Biomerieux) and Nucleic acid testing. The comparative results of both the assays are being presented here in this study.


Out of 73,898 samples, 1104 samples (1.49%) were reactive by NAT. out of these 1104 samples, 73 were reactive for HIV-1 (0.09%), 186 were reactive for HCV only (0.25%), 779 (1.05%) were reactive for HBV only, and around 66 (0.08%) were HBV-HCV co-infections. There was one HIV, 37 HCV, 73 HBV and 10 HBV-HCV co-infection cases that were not detected by serology but reactive on NAT testing, with a combined yield of 1 in 610 donations (total 121 NAT yields).


NAT could detect HIV, HBV and HCV cases in blood donor samples that were undetected by serological tests. NAT can interdict a large number of infected unit transfusions and thus help in providing safe blood to the patients.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


HBV; HCV; HIV; NAT; TTI; Transfusion transmitted infection

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