China investigating blood batch possibly tainted with HIV

A child receives a vaccination at a hospital in Huaibei eastern China's Anhui province

A child receives a vaccination at a hospital in Huaibei eastern China's Anhui province

But that paled in comparison with July's vaccine scandal, in which 252,600 faulty rabies vaccines made by Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology, one of China's biggest vaccine firms, were administered to thousands of toddlers.

Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy is often used to treat immune disorders caused by illnesses such as leukaemia, or acute inflammation and chemotherapy infections.

The contaminated bottles of plasma are due to expire in June 2021, according to Beijing News.

The NHC, citing worldwide medical literature and findings, maintained chances of contracting HIV infection are extremely low for patients that have been administered the contaminated blood plasma.

The plasma had tested positive for the HIV antibody according to a provincial commission, and the national health authorities sent teams to do further tests.

According to Shanghai Xinxing's website, the company was established in August 2000 by its parent company, the state-run Xinxing Group, which is directly under the supervision of China's State Council, a cabinet-like authority. Doctors, in seeking to trace the source of the HIV infection, found it was from receiving injections of immunoglobulin produced by Shanghai Xinxing. So far there have been no reported cases of any patients having become infected from the IVIg.

Intravenous immunoglobulin, a blood product, prepared from the serum of between 1,000 and 15,000 donors per batch is used for the treatment of low immunity that is triggered by conditions like blood cancer and hepatitis.

The National Health Commission said it has informed the National Medical Products Administration to demand medical institutions nationwide to stop using and seal products of the said batch number.

So, some mixed messages there, . but another definite blow to public faith in China's health services.

Following an investigation, 17 officials were fired and expelled from the Party.

Also see in the New York Times an op-ed by global health expert Huáng Yánzhōng 黄延中: If a government can't deliver safe vaccines for children, is it fit to rule? The country is known for the spread HIV through blood transfusions, reports NPR.

The ABC approached the China Meheco Group and various government bodies for clarification but was not able to receive a response - most government offices and companies are now closed in China due to Lunar New Year public holiday.

During the 1990s and earlier 2000s, thousands of Chinese were infected with HIV when they sold blood that was pooled and the plasma removed. "Yet the people responsible for it have never been brought to account, nor have they uttered a single word of apology".