In 1987, Michael Houghton and colleagues at Chiron Corporation in California
discovered part of the genetic material of HCV using molecular
recombinant technology. This discovery allowed the development of tests
to detect specific antibodies. The first enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test
made available in 1989 employed only a single recombinant protein to
detect antibodies and produced a significant proportion of both false
positive and false negative results. An antibody test that could be used
to increase the safety of the blood supply and of transplantable organs
and tissues was available by 1990.
In mid-1995 the hepatitis C virus was seen for the first time ever by
scientists with the aid of an electron microscope. It is a linear
single-strand RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus 40-50 nanometers in size.
It is covered with a lipid envelope and is encased with glycoprotein peplomers
According to Bruce Devenne of Hepatitis Nova Scotia, governments and medical
communities had knowledge of hepatitis C well before 1987,
and could have done much to prevent the deaths of thousands.
But they didn’t. Consider the poisoning of those in Ireland
and France with HCV infected blood, and where court cases
clearly found criminal liability on the part of blood
merchants and governments. Consider also the history of
blood safety in Canada, and the current Arkansas Blood Trail
scandal (See Appendix E, below).