In the past, HIV and hepatitis C were transmitted through blood products. Are blood products safe now?
The blood products recommended to treat VWD today have never been known to transmit HIV, which causes AIDS, or hepatitis B or C. Five different safety measures are used to make VWF concentrate as safe as possible.
- Blood donors go through a rigorous screening process.
- Each blood donation undergoes a series of tests to detect HIV, hepatitis A, B and C and other viruses which could be present in blood. If any virus is found, the blood donation is not used.
- The plasma from which VWF concentrate is made is again tested for the presence of these viruses.
- During manufacturing, the VWF concentrate is treated to kill any viruses that may have escaped detection.
Despite these safety measures, factor concentrates made from plasma may transmit parvovirus. Parvovirus is a common virus that is not normally dangerous. However, it can, in rare cases, cause miscarriage (spontaneous abortion.) (See Conception, Pregnancy and Childbirth.)
The risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases, especially unknown ones, still exists. For this reason, scientists are currently developing VWF concentrates made through recombinant technology, without human plasma. These new products are likely to be available within the next few years.