A division bench of the Gujarat high court has asked the central government to constitute a committee of experts within two months which will decide which of the two tests — Elisa or PCR —will be beneficial and practical in detecting HIV infection during blood transfusion.
The bench comprising chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice JB Pardiwala on Thursday gave directions to the Centre in connection with a PIL that sought use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test by authorities to detect HIV infection. At present the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Elisa) test is used to detect HIV infection.
The petitioner had argued that the PCR test reduces the window period and results could be had much faster than Elisa. The court wants the committee to submit its report within three months. Counsel for NACCO, Shivani Rajpurohit has argued before the court that the PCR test was being discontinued by several European countries. “Moreover it is very expensive too,” said Rajpurohit.
The state, which was made a party in the case, had earlier stated that the blood policy under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act was decided by the Centre and it was just an implementing agency. It had agreed to follow whatever policy the Centre agreed to. It should be noted that the court had sought the opinion of the Centre, NACCO, the state as well as expert opinion from the National Institute of Biologicals.