HC Deb 16 January 1987 vol 108 cc341-2W
Mr. Gareth Wardell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report those institutions which are recieving funds from his Department for AIDS-related research, together with the magnitude of those funds.

Mr. Newton

Funding for AIDS research currently supported by the Department has been allocated to the following research institutions:

Location Estimated total cost £
i. University College Hospital, London 39,500
ii. University College, Cardiff 136,700
iii. Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London 45,000

Additionally, the Department is contributing to:

  1. (a) The Medical Research Council, for epidemiological studies and for the United Kingdom Centre for Co-ordinating Epidemiological Research on AIDS: up to £250,000 per annum.
  2. (b) The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control: £60,000 in 1986–87.
  3. (c) The Public Health Laboratory Services Board: expenditure on research including some service elements was £740,000 in 1986–87 plus a further £500,000 mainly for screening.
  4. (d) The National Blood Transfusion Service (with the Middlesex hospital medical school): £82,000 on two research studies.

Research on AIDS in the United Kingdom is co-ordinated by the Medical Research Council, which receives its grant-in-aid from the science budget of the Department of Education and Science. On 18 December 1986 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science announced the addition of £1 million a year to the council's grant for the purposes of AIDS research.

Mr. Dobson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice he has received as to whether heat treatment of blood and blood products, respectively, destroys HIV (a) before and (b) after it can be identified; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is now in a position to guarantee that (a) blood products, including factor 8, and (b) whole blood, supplied through the national blood transfusion service is totally free of the AIDS virus; if he is in a position to give a guarantee that no patient receiving such supplies will contract the AIDS virus in this way; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

The safety of the blood supply in this country is maintained in two ways. First, all potential donors are given a leaflet which asks those who are at risk of AIDS not to give blood. Secondly, all blood donations are tested for evidence of infection.

These precautions reduce the chance of a unit of blood being infected and failing to be detected to about one in a million.

Whole blood or red cells cannot be heat treated when used for blood transfusions, but those blood products for which transmission of HIV has been established are given a heat treatment to inactivate the virus.

Evidence suggests that the heat treatment currently used by manufacturers of blood products made from blood plasma will inactivate any HIV present, even if HIV antibodies had not been identified in the blood donation from which it was obtained.

Sir Philip Goodhart

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of its resources to screen for AIDS students coming to the United Kingdom from Africa, America and the middle east; and what estimate he has made of the cost of providing that screening.

Mr. Newton

[pursuant to his reply, 9 December 1986, c. 122–23]: The cost of such arrangements would vary considerably according to a number of factors, including the country in which the screening was carried out. We would not expect resources to be an inhibiting factor, should such a policy be considered appropriate.