News / Kitchener

Laurier strengthens rules after blood infection scare

WATERLOO — Wilfrid Laurier University introduced a stringent set of rules for all tests “that involve invasive procedures on human subjects,” after a blood test conducted as a demonstration for students over the years led to concerns about infection.

Six months ago, the university admitted a blood lactate level test conducted on student volunteers in a thirdyear kinesiology and phys-ed class may have slightly increased their risk of contracting diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

As a result, all future tests and experiments that might involve the transmission of human bodily fluids or the piercing of one’s skin by a needle will need to be approved by a five-person panel drawn from the school’s science departments and university administration.

Instructors looking to involve human participants in their experiments must now prove to school administrators that their test cannot be completed with “virtual, synthetic, or other biological substitutes,” before going ahead.

The tests in question used a blood sampling device which had the potential to transmit blood between users. It used a needle which had to be discarded after each use, and the school says the device was cleaned with alcohol after each use, but admits the device was never intended to be used to test multiple individuals. The school no longer uses the blood sampler.

Up to 200 students agreed to have their blood tested between 2002 and 2011. Affected students were contacted, and university officials say they are not aware of anyone contracting any illness as a result of the tests.

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