Background and objectives: To establish the infectivity of anti-HCV ELISA-positive, but cDNA-PCR-negative blood components transfused before the introduction of routine anti-HCV blood donor screening, we enrolled recipients of such blood products in a look-back programme.
Materials and methods: The blood components were donated by (A) RIBA-2-indeterminate and cDNA-PCR-negative donors, and (B) RIBA-2 and cDNA-PCR-negative donors. The look-back comprised 214 blood products from group A donors and 278 from group B.
Results: Of 211 recipients of group A components, 66 (31.3%) were available for testing. All other recipients could not be traced, had died, or refused collaboration. Of these 66, 3 patients had independent risk factors for HCV infection and were excluded. All remaining 63 recipients were anti-HCV ELISA-negative. Of 274 recipients of group B components, 84 (30.7%) were available for testing. All others could not be traced, had died, or refused collaboration. Of these 84, six patients had an independent risk factor for HCV infection and were excluded. All remaining 78 recipients were anti-HCV ELISA-negative. None of the recipients of blood products from previous donations of anti-HCV ELISA-positive, cDNA-PCR-negative, and RIBA-2-indeterminate or negative donors were HCV-infected.
Conclusions: Donors and patients with such reactivities in anti-HCV ELISA, RIBA-2, and cDNA-PCR can be assured that they are not infected with HCV. The donors involved can re-enter the donor pool, provided that future donations are anti-HCV ELISA-negative.