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UK Against Fluoridation

Sunday, August 23, 2015

UK - Sick children infected with HIV and used as guinea pigs as NHS said chimps 'too expensive'

SICK children were injected with “extraordinarily hazardous” blood products after officials ruled testing on chimpanzees was too expensive.

By CAROLINE WHEELER
Colin and Jan Smith at the grave of their sonPUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Aug 23, 2015 | UPDATED: 15:33, Sun, Aug 23, 2015

Colin and Jan Smith at the grave of their son Colin, who died of Aids after getting Factor VIII
Young haemophiliacs were used in experiments to see how infectious the products were, despite health chiefs knowing for years that they were potentially fatal.

Some clinics urged by officials to inject patients with the blood were overruled when they raised
Colin Smith died of Aids after getting Factor VIII    objections.
The explosive revelation is contained in a dossier of evidence obtained by campaigners fighting for a full and fair settlement for the victims of the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.
More than 2,000 people have died from contaminated blood products riddled with viruses, including hepatitis C and HIV, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many more are terminally ill.
Today, the Sunday Express can reveal that government health advisers ignored more than a decade of warnings.
As early as 1975 they were told that the blood from the US would lead to 50 to 90 per cent of recipients developing hepatitis, with half of cases proving fatal.
In a letter dated January 1975 seen by the Sunday Express, Dr Joseph Garrott Allen, an expert on blood and professor of surgery at Stanford University in California, writes to Dr William Maycock, head of the transfusion service in Britain, to warn him of the dangers of using US-pooled plasma from high-risk, paid “skid row” donors.

He said the plasma was “extraordinarily hazardous”.

Known as Factor VIII, it was seen as a miracle treatment for haemophilia, in which the blood fails to clot properly.
But demand far outstripped supply and most of it was imported from America, where in contrast to European practice, companies paid donors for their blood, an incentive that attracted drug users, prostitutes and alcoholics.
Despite officials being warned about the potential risk in 1975 and again later in 1976, this was not passed on to its users and more than 7,500 patients were infected.
By the late 1970s, experts had finally accepted the link between Factor VIII and cases of hepatitis.
But government advisers still pushed the treatment.
In 1979, Dr Anthony Aronstam was the haematologist for the Heamophilia Centre based at Lord Mayor Treloar College, in Alton, Hampshire, a leading school for disabled youngsters for over a century.
When he was asked by the Public Health Laboratory to transfer his patients on to American Factor VIII, he wrote back: “As far as your suggestion about transfusing mild haemophiliacs with this material is concerned, I totally disagree with this concept. I do not wish any of my mild haemophiliacs to develop hepatitis in any form.”
Dr Aronstam’s request was ignored and the product was given to the children.
In total 64 pupils at the school have since died from diseases that include hepatitis C and Aids.
A public health warning was eventually issued in 1981 but it did not ban use of the US product.
Instead, Factor VIII was heat-treated, in the hope of destroying the viruses.
In documents seen by this paper, UK medics refer to the importance of testing these experimental blood products on “virgin haemophiliacs”– mainly children who had not had them before.
It was believed the only way to ensure that heat treatment eradicated diseases in the Factor VIII products was to try it on patients rather than chimpanzees.
Officials said it would cost £10,000 an animal for six months.
In a letter from the Oxford Haemophilia Centre to all UK centres dated January 1982, officials wrote: “Although initial production batches may have been tested for infectivity by injecting them into chimpanzees it is unlikely that the manufacturers will be able to guarantee this form of quality control for all future batches.
“It is therefore very important to find out by studies in human beings to what extent the infectivity of the various concentrates has been reduced.

“The most clear cut way of doing this is by administering those concentrates to patients not previously exposed to large pool concentrates.”

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