Public Health

New test becomes more effective detection of the HIV virus and hepatitis C virus

The test NAT drops the window period from the current 22 to 10 days, in the case of HIV, and 35 to 12 days in hepatitis C virus

Foto: Rondon Vellozo/Ascom/MS
Alexandre Padilha, Minister of Health, signed the ordinance which mandates the test NAT
Alexandre Padilha, Minister of Health, signed the ordinance which mandates the test NAT

The Health Minister, Alexandre Padilha, signed, on Tuesday (12), Ordinance which mandates the test NAT (nucleic acid test) in all units of blood collected in the country.

The new test reduces the window period or time in which the virus remains undetectable by testing 22 for 10 days, in the case of HIV, and from 35 to 12 days, with respect to hepatitis type C. NAT identifies the genetic material of the virus and the antibodies do not (as occurs in other tests), which allows faster and more effective result.

According to the government, since 2011, the NAT is being implemented through the gradual development of national technology without importing products and rigorous processes that ensure the quality of blood. The NAT is produced by the Brazilian public laboratory Bio-Manguinhos, Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation).

The universal test NAT occurs after implantation, in 14 states, centers for the testing (testers sites), which are responsible for analyzing samples in the respective states and the states of its scope. According to the Ministry of Health, the blood samples collected in Acre, Roraima and Rondônia, for example, are transported within 24 hours to HEMOAM (Hemocentro tester on Amazon). The return of the test result to the state of origin within 48 hours.

The model follows the example of countries like USA, Japan and Australia, who also opted for centralization of examinations. Currently, 75% of blood collection in the country is done in public and 25% in private schools. The blood centers across the country will have 90 days to comply with the new rules, which will be supervised by ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency).

Another novelty is that the Ministry of Health, from 2014, will fund all expenses of testers sites for deployment of NAT, including human resources and storage of samples.

During the event, the minister also announced that Fiocruz develops technology for detection of hepatitis B test NAT with estimated usage from the second half of 2014.

The Health System offer, since the 90s, the tests for the detection of hepatitis B and C, HIV, Chagas Disease, Syphilis and Malaria (in the North). The NAT test will be conducted in an additional (for detection of HIV and hepatitis C) added to the serology tests that continue to be applied, added the minister.

Increasing age <b> donation </ b>

The Ministry of Health has also extended to 69 years age limit for blood donation in Brazil, which broadens the audience at two million potential donors. The current age for donation is 16-67 years. Countries like USA, France and Spain have been working with the age group up to 69 years.

Currently, Brazil is collected at 3.6 million bags per year, which corresponds to the index of 1.8%. Although the percentage is within the parameters of the WHO, the Ministry of Health works to reach the 3% rate. In 2012, the Ministry of Health reduced the minimum age for donation of 18 to 16 years (with the permission of the head). With the expansion of the minimum and maximum ages of the donors, there were 8.7 million opening for new volunteers.