Skip navigation

University College Dublin Logo

Advanced Search

UCD News

Nuacht UCD

Posted 17 March 2010

Ireland-Vietnam Blood-borne Virus Initiative

The untiring efforts of Professor Bill Hall to extend medical research to countries outside the normal circle of science has brought considerable benefits to people and governments far from the Centre for Research of Infectious Diseases at UCD.

This St Patrick’s Day, Minister of State with special responsibility for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources, Mr Conor Lenihan, TD formally opened a custom-built diagnostic facility developed by the Ireland-Vietnam Blood-borne Virus Initiative (IVVI) at he national Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) in Hanoi.

The facility is part of a wider initiative designed to diagnose viral infections in Vietnam and to conduct an epidemiological study of the prevalence and characteristics of blood-borne viruses circulating in that country.

The study, which received funding of €5 million from Irish Aid (a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs) and Atlantic Philanthropies, began in 2007 and will be completed in 2011. The results will be used to inform public health policies aimed at reducing the significant morbidity and mortality associated with blood-borne viruses in Vietnam.

The entire epidemiological study involves taking blood and saliva samples from 33,000 people across the country. Vietnam is an enormously varied country with some very inaccessible mountainous regions which include many ethnic minorities. The process of collecting the samples involves travelling throughout the country and reaching different “at risk” population groups including commercial sex workers, intravenous drug users, dialysis patients and multi-transfused patients.

So far, the study shows that there is a very high prevalence of blood-borne virus infections in northern Vietnam, with almost 25% of samples testing positive for one or more bbv under investigation. Infections are highest among the “at risk” groups with 70% of intravenous drug users and 60% of commercial sex workers testing positive.

HIV infection in Ha Noi shows an unexpectedly high infection rate with more than 35% of IVDUs and CSWs testing positive. Similarly, there is a high incidence of Hepatitis C virus among the high risk groups. However, there appears to be little transmission of HIV or HepC in the general population, which according to Professor Hall, gives the Government the opportunity to introduce public-health prevention measures.

The study also shows that, as with elsewhere in Asia, chronic Hepatitis B virus infection if endemic in Vietnam which as many as 8 million people infected with this prolonged and chronic disease.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


>> More News and Events
<< Back to Home

Ireland-Vietnam Blood-borne Virus Initiative
Share this story...