- Blood donated by seven people who subsequently developed
variant CJD, the human form of mad cow disease, may have infected transfusion
products given to many more patients, it was revealed this weekend.
- The National Blood Authority has confirmed that some
of the blood taken from the seven was pooled - mixed with the blood or
blood products of many other donors - before it was distributed to hospitals.
- The number of people who may have been affected is unknown.
The authority has objected to suggestions that thousands are at risk, but
has no estimates of its own.
- The revelations follow experiments which show that blood
from sheep that are incubating BSE but have no symptoms can transmit the
disease to other sheep. Humans are equally vulnerable: blood taken from
anybody incubating vCJD could theoretically spread the disease to people
given blood products.
- Such a case has not yet been seen with blood, although
dozens of people contracted a slightly different form of CJD after being
given a human growth hormone that had been extracted from corpses.
- Blood from donors is usually split into its components,
such as red cells, which carry oxygen; plasma, with white cells that help
fight infection; and platelets, which aid clotting.
- This weekend the authority confirmed that it is now considering
a complete ban on the use of plasma from British donors. Most plasma is
already imported, but about 100,000 units come from within Britain. The
possibility that recipients of transfusions have been infected may also
disqualify them from becoming blood donors.
- Carlene Dyas, a spokeswoman for the authority, confirmed
that the blood donated by the seven vCJD victims was taken before 1999,
when the authority introduced new safety procedures designed to remove
prions, the infectious proteins thought to transmit vCJD. She said: "It
is very worrying, but there is nothing to show that what happens in sheep
does apply to humans."
- Dyas said most of the blood recipients could not be traced
because records were not sufficiently detailed. More than a dozen patients
known to have received blood products from people who later developed vCJD
have been identified, but will not be told of the danger.
- The problem is reminiscent of the spread of HIV in the
1980s when blood products transmitted the Aids virus to more than 1,200
haemophiliacs. The mistake cost the government £80m in compensation
- Professor Peter Smith, acting chairman of the government's
spongiform encephalopathy advisory committee, confirmed there was a risk:
"The concern with pooled blood products is that, as with growth hormone,
an infection in one person could be spread."
- Smith also acknowledged that the measures taken so far
to prevent donated blood infecting others may be insufficient. Since last
year, all Britishdonated blood has been stripped of its white cells, which
are thought most likely to carry the infectious prion particles. Recent
research indicates, however, that prions may also be carried by red cells.
- Additional reporting by Roger Dobson
- From Patricia Doyle, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hello Jeff,
- Excellent. It really is quite frightening, isn't it.
- In July, I came up with an idea for possibly, ending
the continuity of prion misfolding. I thought about chaparone prions that
actually correct misfolding ones. Well, I figured out that the problem
is in the amino acid sequence. As you know a prion is an all protein substance
with one chromosome containing an amino acid sequence. Misfolded prions
contain the amino acid sequence altered.
- So, my idea was to alter chaparone prions amino sequence
thereby possibly ending the binding. I wrote up the idea and sent it to
various scientists, including those at Harvard. Now, I see where UCI, Dr.
Ian Lipkin and a Harvard Scientist have come up with the idea to alter
the amino sequence to stop binding in Alzheimer's and other diseases. Hmm...Sounded
- Wouldn't it be funny if the team was able to come up
with a way to stop prions before they become nvCJD et al. Wouldn't it be
funny if they got the Nobel prize for their work? Actually, when I submitted
the idea to Harvard in July, at the bottom I wrote that I would not mind
earning a Nobel prize for this idea...heh.
- It would really be nice if they could end this horrific
illness. As baby boomer age, I am sure we shall see many Alzheimer's cases
as well. The thought of a disease robbing you of your mind, memory, personality,
as well as health, is extremely freightening. When I think about President
Reagan, and how he was, and now, how he is, so sad.
- Again, let me say kudos on your article, well done.
- vCJD and Cattle Mutilations
- From Gary Snyder RMRhinoLin@aol.com
- Has anybody considered the possibility of a link between
vCJD and cattle mutilations? Has anybody run tissue tests on mutilated
cattle to determine whether they have any indicators of such disease being
- Scientists and the medical community seem to be concentrating
on how this disease moves from cattle and sheep into the human population.
This may seem paranoid thinking, but what if vCJD has been specifically
tailored by (insert whatever "nasty" group here, be it governmental,
alien, or some other) to vector into the human population in this manner?
I hate to say it, but as humans, we have constant contact with cattle
and sheep to some degree or other. Whether it's through flesh consumption
or use of hides and wool, the vast majority of us are not left out of the
loop. And this would include "strict" vegetarians as well.
- If I were attempting to develop something to infect humanity,
for whatever purpose, I doubt that other than water I could come up with
anything more effective (and infective) Perhaps this query is one you
could pass on to "mutilation" investigators as well as researchers
involved with vCJD. Between them (just) maybe they could "collectively"
start looking into a possible connection or link. It's faintly possible
they may be able to develop some further answers in their ongoing investigations
in these matters. What makes me consider this linkage was your recent
HEADLINE article regarding the close match between cattle DNA and human
DNA. I have no way of knowing whether this connection exists or not, but
I can't ignore the thought, or not pass it on.
- Gary Snyder
- From Al Sherman email@example.com
- While I was reading the 'Connect the Prions' article
on your web site, the thought occured that maybe all the animal mutilations
that have been reported might be some sort of black ops...nee the National
Institute for Disease Control...checking for the spread of the disease
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