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Children Used as 'Guinea Pigs' in Infected Blood Trials: Hundreds of Kids Exposed to Hepatitis C and HIV in the 1970s and 80s

In the 1970s and 80s, children with blood clotting disorders in the UK were used in secret clinical trials without their families' consent.
These trials involved the use of infected blood products, resulting in most of the children being infected with hepatitis C and HIV. The true extent of these trials, which continued for over 15 years and involved hundreds of people, has been uncovered through recently seen documents.

One survivor described feeling like a "guinea pig" in these experiments, which prioritized research goals over patients' needs.

In the 1970s and 80s, a large number of children who received treatments for haemophilia in the UK have since passed away.

Doctors used imported blood products, which were in short supply in the UK during that time, despite knowing they were likely contaminated with viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV. These blood products were derived from high-risk donors, including prisoners and drug addicts.

One specific blood product, Factor VIII, was effective for stopping bleeding but also notoriously contaminated.

As a result, many children with haemophilia were infected with these viruses and suffered from serious health consequences, including liver damage and cancer from hepatitis C, and AIDS from HIV. A public inquiry is ongoing regarding a scandal involving a man named Luke O'Shea-Phillips, who developed hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products for a mouth injury when he was three years old at the Middlesex Hospital in London.

The documents obtained by the BBC indicate that O'Shea-Phillips was intentionally given the infected blood to participate in a clinical trial, despite his doctor's knowledge of the potential risks.

The final report of the inquiry is expected in May.
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