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Blood banking systems improving in China, more progress needed

After years spent analyzing blood banking and transfusion practices in China, a Johns Hopkins-led research team says that major improvements are needed to ensure the safety and reliability of the blood supply that serves 20 percent of the world's population.

"There have been advances over the last few years, but with one of the fastest growing rates of HIV infection, the shortcomings of the systems used to collect blood and screen it for HIV and hepatitis B and C indicate that if improvements aren't developed quickly, China could find itself on the upslope of transfusion-borne infection," says Hua Shan, M.D., assistant professor of pathology, associate medical director in transfusion medicine and associate medical director of the HIV Specialty Testing Laboratory at Johns Hopkins.

"The Chinese government recognizes the country's need in this area and is asking for help, and it's vital to China and the world that help is provided," she adds.

The Johns Hopkins researchers and their Chinese colleagues published an analysis of the country's blood banking systems -- from how blood donors are recruited to how blood products are given to patients -- in the British journal The Lancet last fall.

"Problems like those seen in China's blood banking system are common in countries without infrastructure, means or expertise in this area, and they are critical problems for public health," notes Paul Ness, M.D., director of transfusion medicine at Johns Hopkins and an author of the study. "We hope improvements in China's system might be adopted or translated to address similar issues elsewhere."

Working closely with the Chinese Ministry of Health and with blood banking and transfusion organizations in China, the researchers hope their study will provide the most comprehensive, single source of reliable information about the systems currently in place, making it possible to identify the country's needs and develop workable solutions. <
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Contact: Joanna Downer
jdowner1@jhmi.edu
410-614-5105
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
15-Jan-2003


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