China’s National Health Commission released a statement on Tuesday instructing “medical institutions across the country” to stop using a batch of human immunoglobulin distributed by Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical after it received reports of positive HIV tests.
According to the website, the treatment is for thrombocytopenia (a platelet deficiency) and to control chemotherapy infections.
Local reports did not say if officials knew how the more than 12,000 doses became tainted but Tuesday’s statement said that experts believe the risk of HIV infections is “very low” for anyone who's been exposed.
The Jiangxi Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention was the first to report the contamination, The New York Times reported.
The NHC said it will continue to monitor the situation and will cooperate with China’s State Food and Drug Administration. It also announced a “follow-up monitoring program” for patients who used the drug.
China has struggled in the past with the spread of HIV due mainly to infected blood transfusions, according to the BBC, but recent reports show that the number of people in the country contracting the virus in this way has dropped nearly to zero.
Despite this, those living with HIV and AIDS increased by 14 percent overall by the end of last year.