Guj HC directs Centre to form experts' panel on new HIV test



Guj HC directs Centre to form experts` panel on new HIV test
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court today directed the Union government to form an experts` committee to look into the demand of making Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test mandatory for a better detection of HIV infection or AIDS.


Division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, pronouncing the judgement on a PIL seeking change in the standard testing method for HIV prior to blood transfusion at blood banks and hospitals, said the committee should be set up in two months.


It would submit recommendations in three months thereafter, bench added.


Babulal Thakkar, the petitioner, had claimed that `Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay` (ELISA) test, which is used in India, has a window period of three months -- an infection acquired in the previous three months cannot be detected.
ELISA can be replaced by PCR test, as there is no window period in latter, said Thakkar`s petition.


In 2006, National Aids Control Organisation had announced that India was the first country in Asia to introduc PCR. Yet, PCR is not made mandatory at blood banks and hospitals, it said.


HC today directed the central government to constitute a committee to examine the issue and suggest whether PCR should be made mandatory, and if yes, how.


The court will then pass further orders.


PTI