KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 – Dr Shuping Wang, a whistleblower who exposed HIV and hepatitis epidemics in central China in the 1990s, has passed away aged 59.
BBC reported that Dr Wang died during a hiking trip with friends, where she is believed to have had a heart attack.
Dr Wang was instrumental in the unveiling of the blood donation scandal in China, when she realised many locals sold their blood to local government-run blood banks.
She reported her findings to the Ministry of Health, and as a result, later announced that all donors would need to undergo hepatitis C screening – reducing the risk of the disease being spread.
Poor collection practices, including cross-contamination in blood-drawing, meant many donors were being infected with hepatitis C from other donors.
A few years later, she discovered that Dr Wang discovered a donor who had tested HIV positive – but had still sold blood in four different areas.
She immediately alerted her seniors to test for HIV in all the blood stations in Henan province, but was told this would be too costly.
She bought test kits and randomly collected over 400 samples from donors, and found the HIV positive rate to be 13 per cent.
Thanks to her perseverance, in 1996, all the blood and plasma collection sites across the country were shut down for “rectification”.
When they re-opened, HIV testing was added.
Both incidents left her lose her job, attacked, and had her clinic vandalised after she spoke out.
She also lost her marriage and had to relocate to Utah, the United States, following the incident.
“Speaking out cost me my job, my marriage and my happiness at the time, but it also helped save the lives of thousands and thousands of people,” she had told the Hampstead Theatre website in an interview just one month before her death.