Vietnam suspends use of European blood protein amid warnings of deadly brain disease

By Nam Phuong, Phuong Trang   September 17, 2017 | 11:00 pm GMT+7

Experts from Italy and Hungary say the product may carry Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, a fatal brain disorder.

Vietnam’s health ministry has suspended the trade and use of three batches of a human blood protein product after European experts said it may carry a fatal brain disease.

The trade committee under the Delegation of European Union to Vietnam, the Italian Medicines Agency and Hungary’s National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition have all warned about the transmission risks of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, a fatal brain disorder, from three batches of Albumin (Human) 20 percent, a product made from a protein in human blood plasma to treat diseases connected to blood and cardiovascular conditions.

Kedrion Spa in Italy and Human BioPlazma Kft. in Hungary produced the batches, which were imported into Vietnam by the Saigon-based Binh Viet Duc Company and distributed by the Central Pharmaceutical CPC1. JSC. in the city.

Experts are conducting further tests, and there have been no reports of problems among patients the product has been administered to in Vietnam.

Creutzfeldt – Jakob, better known  as CJD, is caused by a protein known as a prion. Infectious prions are misfolded proteins that can cause normally folded proteins to become misfolded. Symptoms include memory problems and behavioral changes in the early stages, before leading to dementia, blindness, weakness and coma. Most people die within one year of diagnosis.

The disease is inherited or spread through exposure to brain or spinal tissue from an infected person. Transmission through blood transfusions appears to be rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.