China says tests on plasma products negative for HIV

BEIJING — Chinese investigators said Thursday tests on a batch of a plasma product feared to have been contaminated with HIV have turned up negative for the virus that causes AIDS.

The result appears to have headed off the possibility of yet another scandal involving medical products in the country. Incidents include the falsifying of production records for rabies vaccines that prompted a nationwide crackdown on the industry and the injecting of other faulty vaccines.

Public outrage over such scandals has alarmed the leadership of the ruling Communist Party, moving it to respond more quickly and firmly than in the past, including bringing criminal charges and billion dollar fines.

A statement from the National Medical Products Administration said tests for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C all turned out negative. The samples were from a batch of 12,000 plasma products manufactured by Shanghai-based China Meheco Xinxing Pharma Co., Ltd.

The National Health Commission on Tuesday reported to the administration that a batch of Meheco-produced plasma products tested positive for the HIV antibody. The administration sent teams to do further tests.

The products involved have been sealed and medical institutions nationwide have been asked to stop using them while investigations continue, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

During the 1990s and earlier 2000s, thousands of Chinese were infected with HIV when they sold blood that was pooled and the plasma removed. In the past, deaths and injuries have also been blamed on shoddy medicines, baby formula, toys and other products.

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