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Factor VIII and IX clotting factor concentrates manufactured from pooled plasma have been identified as potent sources of virus infection in persons with hemophilia (PWHs) in the 1970s and 1980s. To investigate the range and diversity of viruses over this period, we analysed 24 clotting factor concentrates for several blood‐borne viruses. Nucleic acid was extracted from 14 commercially produced clotting factors and 10 from nonremunerated donors, preserved in lyophilized form (expiry dates: 1974–1992). Clotting factors were tested by commercial and in‐house quantitative PCRs for blood‐borne viruses hepatitis A, B, C and E viruses (HAV, HBV, HCV, HEV), HIV‐ types 1/2, parvoviruses B19V and PARV4, and human pegiviruses types 1 and 2 (HPgV‐1,‐2). HCV and HPgV‐1 were the most frequently detected viruses (both 14/24 tested) primarily in commercial clotting factors, with frequently extremely high viral loads in the late 1970s–1985 and a diverse range of HCV genotypes. Detection frequencies sharply declined following introduction of virus inactivation. HIV‐1, HBV, and HAV were less frequently detected (3/24, 1/24, and 1/24 respectively); none were positive for HEV. Contrastingly, B19V and PARV4 were detected throughout the study period, even after introduction of dry heat treatment, consistent with ongoing documented transmission to PWHs into the early 1990s. While hemophilia treatment is now largely based on recombinant factor VIII/IX in the UK and elsewhere, the comprehensive screen of historical plasma‐derived clotting factors reveals extensive exposure of PWHs to blood‐borne viruses throughout 1970s‐early 1990s, and the epidemiological and manufacturing parameters that influenced clotting factor contamination.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Medical Virology



Publication Date





hepatitis B virus, human pegivirus, Factor VIII, hepatitis A virus, clotting factor, Factor IX, hemophilia, parvovirus B19, HIV‐1, PARV4