Organ donation for medical research while HBV-positive

In Australia you are not allowed to donate blood or even your organs when you die, for scientific research, if you have HBV.
I checked and was disappointed about them not wanting my body for research.

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Hi @caraline,

Interesting point, I had never thought about this. I am impressed by your forethought and generosity in even asking the question!

I think such tissues would be useful in Hep B research, so it is not that there is a lack of demand. I think it’s more a lack of infrastructure to be able to preserve and store away the tissues in a timely matter and a way that would be useful, given all the other things that have to be done around that time.

Cheers,
Thomas

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Hi @caraline, I agree it seems crazy to not accept tissue and organs from folks with hep b considering the significant shortage of such donations. But in addition to what Thomas wrote about lack of ability and resources to store such tissues, I do believe that once there is a “complete” or even just a “functional” cure for hep b, there could be a greater acceptance since a recipient of hep b infected tissues or organs could take a drug to suppress/eliminate the virus. I know for decades people with hep b couldn’t get liver transplants because the new livers would just get infected with hep b. Once the first oral antiviral for hep b (lamivudine or Epivir) was approved, then hep b patients were suddenly eligible for a transplant. Hope this helps. Thanks for raising a great question/issue. Always, Joan

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Hi
This is a wonderful thought. I tried this five years ago and I was also told if I am hep b positive i can’t donate any my part of my body or the whole body for whatever reasons. I was not disappointed. Because I don’t always expect.
Kinoti

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I m guessing since the industry probably has more than enough donations, no reason to put any risk of infected body parts.

Very interesting! After my COVID vaxxes, I was removed from the blood donor program when I tested anti-HBc reactive for the first time in 97 donations. I certainly didn’t get Hep B for the first time at age 70 but wonder if my body parts are now ineligible?

Hi Darlene, thanks for you interesting post. You’re right, after giving blood 97 times without any positive hep b blood test results, you probably didn’t suddenly get hep b. Unless it’s been more than a year since you last gave blood? But my personal recommendation is that you check with your doctor about getting the full panel of hep b blood tests - hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B surface antibody (HBcAb) and hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) - to determine what might be going on. Your hep b core antibody test (HBcAb) could be a false positive? Or maybe you were exposed to the hep b virus without knowing it since 90% of adults who are infected recover and usually don’t know they were infected. I hope this makes sense. Bottom line, talk to your primary care health care provider and get more tests for your own peace of mind and to find out if you can still donate blood!! Thanks for asking. Always, Joan

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This is probably not the only reason. For tissues to be useful for Hep B related research, a scientist needs to know quite a lot about the person. This is a major problem in my field.

A lot of patient information has to be collected, collated and stored in the one spot. At the same time, this data has to be deidentified to maintain confidentiality. One needs to process the tissues, store it in the right spot, label it, keep records where each of the tissues are, be available to control who gets access to it, make sure all the relevant research ethics are being abided by everyone who uses the tissue, etc. etc.

In short, it is a massive job.

For other purposes in medical education and research, you may not need this level of information, but Hep B may instead be a danger they could do without. For example, for students learning anatomy and using scalpels to explore the body.

I think that you would not be considered for blood/organ donation, but it could still be OK for other purposes. Might be worthwhile discussing with your doctor.

Also, I agree with Joan and think it might be worth just getting some confirmation of what’s happening with a panel of blood tests.

Cheers,
Thomas

My extensive blood work has been inconclusive. It suggests I have been exposed to Help B but not that I have had it. As all my medical records are at UHN, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t be available for research once I have given permission. And CBS records re: blood donations and the impact of mRNA vaxxes should also be available… except permission has never been requested.