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Red Gold - The Epic Story Of Blood -

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(generated from captions) I mean, after all, east is east. to believe that. Surely you don't expect me is of no consequence the family background is being given, Mr Hancock, when a blood transfusion TENSE MUSIC HEART BEATS Thousands were to die. with this new disease. um, that they were infected which we did immediately, to talk and to tell people, It was horrible to have to... of the century. Then came the gravest medical crisis or contaminated. always in danger of being lost and at the same time which is infinitely valuable that we contain There is this cherishable substance on its life-saving properties. More and more patients came to depend Blood transfusions were now vital. and saved thousands of lives. It transformed medical practice blood became more valuable than oil. of the 20th century, In the second half TENSE MUSIC

a normal, productive human being. to create and help him and his family a social outcast, would normally be, really, who would normally be crippled, You could take somebody it from his doctor, Peter Jones. and was among the first to be offered severe haemophiliacs at the centre, Peter was one of a hundred that caused so much pain. it could control the bleedings Derived from blood itself, concentrate was developed. a new medication called factor VIII When he was a teenager in the 1970s, for a good eight weeks sometimes or I'd be on bed res ..put me out of schoo and they would, um.. bleeding episodes, They used to be very painfu generally into my ankles um, bleeding, where I've been laid up in bed, I've had many days still live in Newcastle. Today, Peter and his partner, Carol, at Royal Victoria Infirmary. they attended the Haemophilia Centre were born with it. He and his brother Stephen haemophilia. he has a genetic bleeding disorder - Now in his mid-40s, But Peter Longstaff can't give blood thought about giving blood. Most of us have at least tradition in Britain. giving blood was a firmly established Fuelled by a sense of duty, British pride and blood donation. Tony Hancock satirised both In one of his best-known shows, with perhaps just a dash of Viking. 100% Anglo-Saxon undiluted for 12 generations. British! British, you're thinking about, isn't it? It's the blood to worry about there. You've got nothing Nationality? all over the world, Mr Hancock And blood is blood

to keep them alive. requiring repeated transfusions or radiation poisoning, The rest suffered severe burns 80,000 were killed instantly. more than 200,000 people died. on Hiroshima, When the atom bomb was dropped RUMBLING at the end of World War II. begins as thousands died became so contaminated The story of how the blood system I'm still here. Many are not in not suffering too...too badlyn Generally I feel I've been fortunat I've had minor infections with the HIV, Well, although I've been fortunat contracted HIV from factor VIII. including Peter Longstaff, 1,200 British haemophiliacs, In the 1980s, seen in the beginning anyway But it's a pack I'd rather have no holding this box now And it feels quite strang would have been made in 1981 so this product probably This is from 1983, holding this now Uh, it feels quite strang which used to contain 24 packs This is an old shipping container, of blood was limited. At the time, screening and testing by a wide range of donors. from blood given by American-based companies It was produced by Tony Hancock. so patriotically portrayed was not made from the British blood that so changed Peter's life But the medication in a fridge and needn't always be kep on holiday I'd be able to use it, take i certainly free my lifestyle up The treatment, I was told, would

separated in these machines Now, one unit of blood according to plan. Unfortunately, not everything went demonstrate how the process worked. Cohn had his own blood extracted to With a flair for showmanship, in a new therapeutic use. may result a blood derivative in concentrating or purifying Each scientific advance EDWIN J. COHN: or to produce specialised medication staving off shock, fighting infection, could be used separately, Each of these, Cohn explained, platelets and plasma. red cells, white cells, into its four main parts - and separated it It took the whole blood and straight to the donor. that could be taken out of the lab a portable machine In 1951, he unveiled how it was then put to use. but, more significantly, in both the way it was collected was to increase the efficiency for more blood Cohn's answer to the call to do the experiment. working all night Supposedly you were supposed to be "How did the experiment come out?" you'd get a call from him saying, at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning, And then, until 7:00 or 8:00 at night. He would never leave the laboratory He...he was a superb scientist. as one of the most unique people. I think he stands out in the years, ..in the blood and plasma business in the... Of all the people I've known MAN: Dr E.J., he was called. could be used more efficiently. of researching how blood was charged with the task Edwin J. Cohn, from Harvard Medical School, A brilliant but eccentric scientist The race was on to find it. than was required in World War II. far more blood would be needed of an atomic war realised that in the event Western doctors who visited the city

in which blood played a major role. After the war, there wasn't a crisis anymore. There was no need to show patriotism. People just got complacent about the whole thing. But by contrast, in a Europe scarred by war, closer to home people did keep giving. In France, donors believed they were helping to rebuild the Republic's battered self-image. Special blood days, when whole villages would donate, became a national ritual. WOMAN: There was a popular idea that you have, when you are a healthy man you have too much blood And you donate it easily, it's kind of a vital gift, and I think this idea was very important In Britain, blood was regarded as a community resource, collected and distributed by the state for the good of all. DR PETER JONES: In this country, we relied, as we still do, on volunteer donors who were not paid, was the first war MAN: The Second World War began closing its collection centres which had relied on voluntary donors, the American Red Cross, after the war, In the face of this public apathy in giving blood. people had lost interest But in the United States, was plenty of donors. All that was needed with different illnesses. and used to treat different patients could be processed and it's their civic duty, they believed, to...to give blood. But in the United States, it would take a tragedy to revive the public's interest. MAN: I heard a horrible explosion My first thought was tha an atom bomb had exploded It was not a bomb, but a ship docked at an oil refinery that had caught fire and exploded. MAN: A blinding flash of light, just like the heavens had opened up And then we felt the concussion three miles away. Nearly knocked us down. So, we knew something bad had happened. SIRENS WAIL No-one knew what had caused the tragedy, but 3,000 people were injured, over 500 fatally. In the hours after the explosion, Ken Demaet frantically searched among the wounded for his wife, Louise. They'd been married less than a year Somebody had apparently wiped the blood off of my wife's face, and I recognised her. Uh...her face, neck, torso, was full of glass, and she was bleeding profusely. She didn't function. And she was transfused with a unit of blood - yes, that I remember - maybe more. I didn't know who transfused her. But if I...if they were sitting here today, I'd say, "You're an angel." As Louise Demaet recovered, hospitals from all over the country were asked to get blood to the stricken port as fast as they could. In the neighbouring town of Galveston, the hospital had recently appointed a 30-year-old doctor as head of their blood bank. MAN: Our blood bank at that tim was established for a hospita with approximately...I think we had 400 beds or 450 beds And we were well-stocked for that particular need, of another thousand seriously injured people In the days following the explosions, health authorities across the country realised that disaster could strike any time, anywhere, in peace as well as in war. They needed to get the country's blood banks far more organised and they needed to recruit a new generation of donors. Hollywood was enlisted to help. Today Red Cross has undertaken a vast new program - the collecting of blood to save civilian lives. Scores of blood centres will be established across the country. Red Cross plans to make blood available free to anyone anywhere. Because of this great humanitarian project, each year thousands of Americans at the brink of death will be saved In everything it does, your Red Cross depends on you. The 1950s ushered in a brave new world of optimism and innovation. On both sides of the Atlantic, a new generation of medical pioneers made enormous advances using blood. The greatest were in open-heart surgery. I'm John Weston, your surgery commentator. With me in the operating theatre is Dr Dennis Melrose, a heart surgeon from London, England. Dennis Melrose was a doctor at Hammersmith Hospital. In 1958, he was invited to California to take part in groundbreaking surgery. ..is a pump.. He was part of a British team which developed a method to safely use the new heart-lung machine during surgery. DOUGLAS STARR: All of these things required a lot of blood. Medical facilities were beginning to concentrate their technology into big medical centres often located in the cities. The problem was the population began moving out of the cities. It began to get difficult to get enough blood. MAN: Today's science can do so much At the time, voluntary banks around the country were taking blood freely donated, but they were struggling to keep up with demand. Science gives us miracles, but only you can give us blood. Into the breach stepped a new type of blood banker - often untrained opportunists eager to pay donors for their blood then sell it on for a profit. There were no laws against it. These commercial bankers set up shop anywhere they could find people willing to earn a few dollars - students, servicemen and down-and-outs. Health regulations required basic screening, but because they were in it for money, donors often lied about their medical history. Coupled with poor hygiene and intravenous drug use, this meant the risk of diseases like hepatitis were high. wanted to make more money greed being a basic par of human nature and they would take in donors based solely on the criterion of being cheap So, the poorest-paid dono would come in without proper selection By comparison, in most of Europe, where there were no paid donors, there were far fewer instances of disease in the blood system. DR PETER JONES: In the United Kingdom, where we have a system... ..still have a system of voluntary blood donation, the incidence was lower because the population that the donations were drawn from were less likely to have intravenous drug abuse and therefore the spreading of viruses. One of the first people to sound the alarm about the risks of the paid donor system was a British sociologist, Professor Richard Titmuss. He was an internationally respected social policy analyst. His most influential book, 'The Gift Relationship', took blood as an example of moral values. WOMAN: He became interested in blood He saw it as an area that would illustrate many of the principles that he thought were extremely important in terms of social policy A system of voluntary donation in which people are not paid for giving blood is a better way of guaranteeing a safe supply Titmuss compared the two blood collection systems. To him, the American model came up short. PROFESSOR RICHARD TITMUSS: In commercial blood markets, the consumer is not king. He has less freedom to live unharmed and is more subject to shortages in supply. Far from being sovereign, he is often exploited. The basis of his notion of blood as a freely circulating good where you are both donor and recipient by virtue of the membership of a community, is actually a model for the circulation of goods in general The book touched a nerve at a time when Americans were questioning their own model of blood banking. It was published in America to critical acclaim in 1971. President Nixon's health secretary, Elliot Richardson, PROFESSOR ANN OAKLEYz The publication of the book made a big difference to policy in the United States The Nixon Administration was very impressed with it Certainly the rol of the commercial blood firms in the blood market in the States was...very radically altered by that The US government decided that paid blood should now be labelled as such. DOUGLAS STARR: They simply distinguished between voluntary and paid blood. And the reasons it was so clever was everybody knew that if a hospital gave paid blood they'd have a tremendous lawsuit. So, nobody wanted to touch this stuff, and almost overnight, the practice stopped. Collecting blood once more fell to the voluntary organisations, but it was still legal to pay for blood. And there was one particular component that was becoming highly prized. This was the light amber fluid known as plasma. It would come to transform people's lives and the returns would be substantial and people could make money at it Uh, very, very few people work without receiving a salary 20 years earlier, Edwin Cohn had been the first to understand that plasma was more useful and valuable in its parts He and his researchers at Harvard had discovered that once blood had been separated into its four parts, one part, the plasma, could be further broken up into what they called fractions. They had identified more than a dozen of these, each one with different uses, from vaccines and medicine for measles and polio to new treatments for haemophiliacs. But now Cohn's research would be turned to commercial use. What Cohn did with plasma was the equivalent of cracking oil into all of its products - you know, gas, home-heating oil and petrochemicals. Nobody else could have done that, and because of this, the plasma industry is what we have today. Cohn's breakthrough had represented a massive advance in medical science But in the intervening years, pharmaceutical companies had gradually come to realise that profits lay in what came to be known as plasma fractionation. JOHN ASHWORTH: And from that came what has escalated now into a worldwide fractionation industry. Many comp...countries built fractionation plants. There's probably 50 or so fractionation plants of various sizes around the world all using this basic methodology. Once plasma could be manufactured into products on an industrial scale, doctors had an array of new medicines to treat their patients. Perhaps the greatest benefits were for haemophiliacs. They lack a protein crucial for a blood to clot. For generations, the disease cursed the royal families of Europe. It killed six of her descendants and crippled the heir to the Russian throne, Alexis, son of Tsar Nicholas. The condition affects only men and is excruciatingly painful. Once the crucial clotting fraction in plasma, known as factor VIII, pharmaceutical companies made it into a medical concentrate Peter Jones was one of the first doctors in Britain to prescribe it. With the coming of concentrates of factor VIII and of being able to treat yourself at home, being able to treat your children, of being even able to prevent bleeds by giving regular factor VIII, the effect was amazing. because it meant more mobility, and especially as Dr Jones would b the one who was using it first He was the guy who was instrumenta in bringing it over Peter Longstaff's new medicine was supplied by multinational companies who made factor VIII from plasma. They had realised it was possible for donors to give just plasma, but unlike donating whole blood, it was a long and painful process. But no voluntary donors were prepared to spend the time or put up with the pain. Yet the demand was high, so companies were searching for more and more sources. Behind the walls of America's prisons they had found the ideal donor - They could give plasma more than 50 times a year in return for a few dollars or privileges. DOUGLAS STARR: Now, the problem wasn't in the doing it. The problem was a lot of these prison centres were poorly supervised and unhygienic, so there were a few outbreaks of hepatitis among the prisoners that got pretty bad. Hepatitis was a known risk, and companies complied with screening regulations. But donors with a chequered history were likely to have other diseases. Prisons weren't the only collection place. In Los Angeles alone, over 10 companies set up shop among the down-and-outs on skid row, all competing for business. One in particular began offering more than just cash. TOM ASHER: This blood bank was right next to a liquor store, and when the blood bank would pay the donors m I think the going rat was, like, $4 why, they didn't pay them $4 in cash, they paid them in a chit A little piece of paper said, "This piece of paper is redeemabl at US Liquors, which was right next door The demand was high. Pharmaceutical companies were now pooling thousands of units of plasma, collected from a variety of sources, in huge vats. It was then sold to doctors, hospitals and other companies around the world. Coca-Cola doesn't make one bottl of Coca-Cola at a tim and put a cap on it and send it out They make it in great big tanksn Budweiser doesn't make bee one mug at a time They make it in big tanks and then bottle it That is called the economies of, uh, volume And it holds true for plasma as it holds true for any othe commodity in the world By the middle of the 1970s, plasma had become one of the world's most precious fluids - a thousand times more valuable than oil. DOUGLAS STARR: Now, we had this situation where America was the OPEC of plasma, where they had to find another source for the material. Now, the oil industry went to the Middle East and parts of Africa - where the oil was. But the question is, where's the plasma? Where is the plasma cheap and plentiful and easy to get? And it turns out the crowded cities of the Third World. MOODY MUSIC Nicaragua in Central America is one of the poorest countries in the world. In the mid-1970s, the largest plasma collection centre anywhere was established in its capital, Managua. A large pool of untapped donors was just one reason why companies were drawn there. If you paid them $4, which is wha you're paying your American donors, you'd have them lined up out to the ocean They earn $2 a day in manual labour I gave them $4 for an hour's work They were great donors, clean donors, obedient donors, loved to come back, courteous donors TRANSLATION: The beds were always full. Mondays and Saturdays were the best days. There would be 2,000 donors on those days. Then on Tuesdays, it would be down to 700 or 900. Those were the numbers that I personally accounted for. But a problem was brewing. Like many other companies, in order to set up business, the owners of the Plasma Centre had agreed to share profits with the country's notoriously corrupt president, Anastasio Somoza. He was already facing fierce criticism from the only independent newspaper in the country, 'La Prensa'. Now its editor, Pedro Chamorro, turned to the Plasma Centre. (Woman speaks Spanish) TRANSLATION: He spoke out agains the abuses and the sale of blood People were always likely to sell their blood out of necessity through their plasmapheresis Pedro was so incensed because he sa things were not as they should be The Plasma Centre became known as "the house of vampires" as Chamorro ran more and more damning exposes of Somoza's profiteering. (Man speaks Spanish) TRANSLATION: They paid just a few pesos for blood without checking whether people were returning more often than they should, before their plasma levels had returned to normal. For the few dollars it cost them, they made a huge return on the investment. Under Somoza's regime, Pedro Chamorr was a lone voice of opposition. EERIE MUSIC On January 10, 1978, Chamorro was shot dead. CAR HORN BEEPS (Speaks Spanish) TRANSLATION That night, there was chaos We lifted Pedro onto our shoulders and everyone was singing the national anthem, It was so sad Just recalling it is painful On the night of Chamorro's funeral, there was widespread rioting and the Plasma Centre was burnt to the ground. (Speaks Spanish) TRANSLATION: The gunshots that claimed Chamorro made the Nicaraguan people take to the streets. They stayed there until July 19, 1979. That was the spark that ignited a revolution and it didn't stop until the dictator had been overthrown for good. Later, Pedro Ramos Quiros, the owner of the plasma centre, was found guilty of the murder in his absence. By now, the pharmaceutical industry was a vast interlinked network of multinationals trading in plasma and products as if they were coffee or iron ore. But this globalisation threatened the safety of the end product. A single unit of plasma infected with a virus could contaminate an entire pool. Peter Longstaff had no idea the factor VIII he was injecting was made from pooled plasma with such a chequered history. LONGSTAFF: I felt angry because I felt it was exposing a risk to mysel if it was...been coming from these bad or poor sources I was never told of this I was told it was coming from North America, from screened donors The treatment, I was told, was safe There was a very unlikely...chanc that you may catch hepatitis A, which was reasonably mild, or hepatitis B, which can be quite dangerous, but there is a vaccine for that So we were always told of that danger Um...but it was unlikely that w would ever need to think about that In the 1970s, Britain was not self-sufficient in either plasma or its products. DR PETER JONES: The shortage of factor VIII in the United Kingdom forced government to start to impor from the United States. We were aware, and the patients were aware at that time, and the families, 'cause we told them - totally open about this - that there was a risk of hepatitis. We'd already seen that. GENTLE MUSIC What we didn't know was that there was another virus, eventually, not at that time, but another virus was going to come in and cause devastation. Cory Dubin grew up in California. As a haemophiliac, he suffered the pain, isolation and fear that comes with the disease He was one of the first in America to be offered factor VIII. It felt almost lik I was an astronaut It eventually made 'Time' magazine In 1980, Cory organised a summer camp in the hills for haemophiliac boys. Many of them had met at hospital. BOYS MURMUR For over a decade, they had shared the freedoms, and later the fears, that came with using factor VIII. But this was to be the last time these young boys from southern California would gather. There were 30 guys at that camp I have a picture of the 30 of us.. ..and there are two left Two. BOYS YELL AND SCREAM It was not hepatitis that claimed the lives of Cory's friends, nor would it be haemophilia. They fell victim to a new and terrifying blood-borne disease. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was first detected in America in 1981. At first, symptoms were only seen in gay men and intravenous drug users. Their lifestyle was blamed for its spread. Most people thought it would never touch them. But suddenly, in January 1982, a haemophiliac from Florida died. Then, a few months later, a baby. Both had received blood products that had been screened, but not for this as yet unknown virus. The inevitable conclusion was that AIDS was now in the blood supply and everyone was at risk. The Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta, in charge of tracking infections, were facing a potential disaster. They called a series of urgent meetings with representatives of the blood industry, both voluntary and commercial. How was the virus getting into the blood supply? MAN: The pictur of blood-borne transmission of this, at that time unknown agent, was clear as a bell We at CDC thought we presented a very clear picture, to us, of...bloodm and plasma-transmitted HI and, indeed, some very simple means by which one could eliminat at-risk donors, which were...gay men and intravenous drug users, from the blood-donating system TOM ASHER: I was sitting next t the president of one of the majo manufacturers, who was a friendn The lights went up and I turned to him and he turned to m and both of us literally had our jaws open And we said, "He's got to be kidding. And we both just instantly recognised that this was.. ..it's just an overwhelming problem to our industry and to every patient in the world Fearing more deaths and aware of the potential legal actions, many pharmaceutical companies soon began questioning donors in detail about their medical and sexual history. Until now, such screening had been limited. But the volunteer blood banks were less inclined to do so, arguing it was too intrusive. Blood bankers reacted shockingly, at least for me, in that they said, "I don't think it's proven "I don't think it's there It's not in my house "I don't need to do anything about it. But almost nothing was known about HIV and there was no reliable test. Indeed, there was much disagreement about how widespread this epidemic would become. There seemed to be some kind of built-in mechanism that nobody wanted anybody to panic But maybe sometimes just a tiny smidgin of panic isn't the worst thing in the world. So going along like this, there were opportunities missed. It was clear, as, indeed, it had become more clear with hepatitis, that...because some of the donor population were people in prison, er...were people who were obviously on skid row, um...and drug abuse populations, they should have been immediately eliminated. Over the next few years, the public still thought AIDS affected only gay men and drug abusers. So when tennis star Arthur Ashe announced that he had contracted AID from a blood transfusion, people were shocked. Ashe had been a trailblazer for African-Americans in sport, He tried to keep his illness secret, but finally revealed the truth. Some of you heard that I had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS That is indeed the case HEART BEATS 10 years after he received the transfusion, Ashe finally died. The public had lost confidence in the blood supply. DR JONATHAN MILLER: I think it's had a profound influence on the confidence that people might previously have had in transfusion. For very understandable reasons, the widespread existence of HIV-positive blood that they might in fact be endangering themselves by receiving blood. POIGNANT MUSIC No test was developed to screen HIV until 1985, too late for those already infected through transfusions or blood products. People like Peter Longstaff and his brother Stephen were both infected. PETER: You see, I was devastated I...I...didn't know what to expect I'd known.. I knew other people who'd died Um...it wasn't long, though, before I realised the full extent of the damag it could caus as my brother started to take il with pneumonia and, um...other infections And he was dead by April, '86 Of the 100 haemophiliacs Peter knew at the Newcastle Centre, HIV transmitted through blood had become a worldwide problem. Even countries with the most reliabl blood collection were not immune. During the 1980s, health officials in France remained convinced that their blood was pure and untainted. It was a matter of national pride that anyone could give blood. Asking donors about their lifestyle was resisted. DR ANNE MARIE MOULIN: It is obvious that the directors of the transfusion centres did not take seriously the threat of contamination, although they received a warning from the ministry and...the Direction of Health - la Direction Generale de la Sante who warned them they...they had to ask details, personal details, from the donors in order to avoid contamination It came too late. Stocks were already contaminated and haemophiliacs were dying. Many European countries began importing a safer type of factor VIII, but French politicians stalled on both political and economic grounds. Most of it, I think, was that we had the idea that it was not necessary to buy.. ..to buy this...red gold from the outsid Worldwide, tens of thousands had already been infected by the time the AIDS virus had been identified in 1984, infected with HIV through blood transfusions and products. DOUGLAS STARR: People genuinely fee that because folks let down their guard, or because folks weren't vigilant enough, or in some cases, because folks didn't keep them informed as they should, that the public can't trust the blood establishment anymore. INTENSE MUSIC Over the next few years, the story of how blood became so tainted was pieced together. Around the world, the public needed to see justice done. The guilty had to be prosecuted and the victims compensated. (People chant in French) In France, two health officials were sent to prison for supplying haemophiliacs with clotting factors they knew to be infected with HIV. In Japan, senior industry and government officials apologised publicly to the families of those who had died of HIV through infected blood. In the United States, 20,000 people contracted HIV from transfusions and blood products No individuals were tried, but several drug companies were sued for millions of dollars. And after years of campaigning, a bill was finally passed offering compensation to haemophiliacs infected by factor VIII made from contaminated plasma. CORY DUBIN: It was a wonderfu victory for the community It was a community going out, defining itsel and going after what was right But why eight years Why so many had to be dead that could've maybe enjoyed the last days of their lif in a more comfortable place, knowing their meds would be paid for, having some fun with their kids maybe No, they tortured us till we got the bill DRAMATIC MUSIC In 1990, compensation was finally paid. For a man without any dependants, the figure was ?23,000. This was the amount paid to Peter Longstaff's mother for the death of his brother Stephen I don't believe it was fair Um...I don't believe ?23,00 for a life is nowhere near fair No, I don't believ it's a great amount The AIDS crisis shook public confidence in blood banking. Today, due to better tests and greater vigilance, the supply is much safer. Yet fear about infection still remains. Peter has been living with both HIV and hepatitis. But now he's worried that a new and unknown disease might have crept into the blood supply. In 1995, a version of mad cow diseas appeared in humans. So far, more than 100 people have died in Britain from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease known as variant CJD. It's been linked to eating infected beef, but no-one knows how, or even if, it can be transmitted in blood. Variant CJD, it's a real problem because nobody, as yet, has found out how to identify whether it is in blood After the AIDS crisis of the '80s, Britain invested heavily in plasma production, and until 1996, which was producing its own factor VIII and other blood-based pharmaceuticals. But when the first cases of variant CJD were diagnosed, their business was to change. Once we were notified that we had processed plasma from donors who had subsequently died of variant CJD, we had no optionn We were required by the Medicines Control Agency to recall the product Now the Bio Products Laboratory had to stop using British plasma. The risk was too great. And in a turn of fate, all the raw material is now imported from the United States. It was a cautious response that was born of bitter experience. And we looked at the U because there was no suggestion of variant CJD there, and the standards of plasma collection had improved enormously over the years So we were looking to see whethe there was sufficient plasma ther and there was But Peter Longstaff was infected with hepatitis and HIV from medicine made by American suppliers, and is still concerned about their practices. Even though there is nothing to suggest variant CJD is transmitted in blood, his experience over the last 17 years has led him to be wary. Um...and I'm sat her with a number of viruses I'm not prepared to trust again And...I would prefer not to tak the human-derived facto because of the perceived risks of CJD LAIDBACK MUSIC DR JONATHAN MILLER: What we are worried about is being caught in a trap of certain things which represent the necessities of life, such as meat and blood, which are associated with fatal risks. Well, this is... this is part of living. Living is endlessly making balances between needs and risks. And although there is no evidence, the risk of this disease getting into the blood supply has proved too great for America. DOUGLAS STARR: People are so scared of this, we're so traumatised in the post-AIDS era, that they've passed this new requirement saying if you've been in Europe, even for a few months, you can't give blood. Unprecedented steps have been taken to protect the blood supply in the United States. Donors who have been in Europe are carefully screened. no blood or blood products from Europe are allowed into the country. This new...germ, whatever it is, that causes CJD, if it is in the blood supply, then that could be... ..devastating to a large... percentage of the population who've had blood transfusion. So I think that the measures that various countries are taking are really based on common sense. MOODY MUSIC Despite advances, the world's blood supply still faces risks. Today, in the developed world, collecting blood is routine and transfusion commonplace. The last two centuries have seen blood transformed from an object of superstition to a life-saving technology. But the challenge of how to provide ourselves with enough safe blood Supertext Captions by the Australian Caption Centre www.auscap.com.au