Background. Simian virus 40 (SV40) is a small DNA tumour virus. Footprints of the virus have been detected in different humam lymphoproliferative disorders and in blood specimens of blood from healthy blood donors. This study was carried out to verify whether SV40 antibodies can be detected in serum samples from multiply transfused patients with thalassaemia major.
Materials and methods. An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was employed, using SV40 specific synthetic peptides mimicking the antigens of the viral capsid proteins 1-2-3, to test for the presence of antibodies to SV40 in serum samples taken from patients affected by transfusiondependent thalassaemia major (n=190) and healthy blood donors (n=251).
Results. The prevalence of antibodies against SV40 was higher in patients than in controls (24% vs 17%). The prevalence increased and was significantly higher in the older age group of patients affected by thalassemia major than in controls (38% vs 20%, p
Discussion. The higher prevalence of serum antibodies against simian virus 40 in older, multiply transfused patients with thalassamia major than in controls suggests that this virus, or a closely related yet unknown human polyomavirus, could have been transmitted in the past by transfusion with whole blood. At the same time, our data indicate no significant differences in prevalence of SV40 antibodies in patients and controls of younger age thus suggesting that current transfusion methods with leucodepletion and filtered red cells are safe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy