The Regional Blood Transfusion Center at Government District Hospital in Aluva has sought government approval to introduce nucleic acid testing (NAT) and recover the full cost from patients in paid wards and private hospitals using the facility.
The health ministry has agreed in principle to set up a NAT facility at the center at an estimated cost of Rs 3 crore. According to official estimates, at least 30,000 samples per year are needed to make the project viable, considering the estimated cost of the facility is Rs 25 crore and annual maintenance cost of about 10 per cent. Patients in government hospitals can enjoy 70% subsidy.
“We routinely screen for HIV, HCV, HBV, syphilis and malaria. Due to the delay in antibody production, NAT reduces the window period by one-third compared to the Elisa serology test. NAT It is a highly sensitive and advanced technology that has shortened the window period of Hepatitis B virus to less than 11 days, Hepatitis C virus window period to less than 25 days, and HIV window period to less than 3 days. The only limitation The factor is cost,” said N. Vijayakumar, director of the centre.
The center had earlier proposed to make Aluva blood bank a single nodal center for NAT blood screening after a blood transfusion infection was reported in Mananthavady in 2013. It is said that two weeks ago, a 30-year-old patient tested positive for hepatitis B. Transfusion of infected blood.