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The Inquiry began the second day of Professor Lowe’s evidence by discussing his knowledge of HIV and its transmission in blood products.

Professor Lowe told the Inquiry how he first read about the transmission of HIV through blood products in a Lancet article but was not involved in communicating this risk to patients. He then went onto to discuss how Scotland became self-sufficient for Factor VIII concentrate in 1983.

Ms Richards QC asked Professor Lowe about a Lancet article which he co-authored in 1983. The article discussed 77 Scottish haemophiliacs that were tested for HIV and received Scottish blood products. The article compared the Scottish haemophiliacs to Danish haemophiliacs who were also tested for HIV but had received US commercial concentrates. The blood taken from the haemophiliacs was sent to the US for testing. The results showed that 12 of the Glasgow patients had tested positive for HIV.

Sir Brian asked Professor Lowe about why the article was published before the patients were told that they were positive for HIV and that their samples had been sent to the US. Dr Lowe said that he had been quite conflicted about publishing the information and his duties to his patients.

Staying on the theme of HIV transmission, Ms Richards QC asked Professor Lowe about a letter dated 8th January 1985 signed by Dr Forbes and himself inviting haemophiliacs that had been treated with factor VIII concentrates to be tested for HIV. Sir Brian asked Professor Lowe why he had signed the letter when he did not write it. Professor Lowe said that Dr Forbes had asked him to also sign the letter, just in case Dr Forbes was absent from the department, but he admitted that this was peculiar.

Professor Lowe told the Inquiry that he told patients of positive test results for Non-A, Non-B hepatitis and HIV after 1986.

Ms Richards QC then asked Professor Lowe about the recording of positive HIV test results in patients records. Professor Lowe says the initial interview with a patient was private and confidential, therefore this was sometimes not recorded in a patient’s records. However, he stated that from 1985 onwards he would ask a patient if they wanted it written in their records that they had tested positive for HIV or Non-A, Non-B hepatitis.

Concluding his evidence for the day, Ms Richards QC asked Professor Lowe about the use of commercial factor concentrates. Professor Lowe told the Inquiry that commercial concentrates were used by the Infirmary when stocks of SNBTS product depreciated in 1988.


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