There’s always something new to learn about HCV transmission routes. There are various reports about how long HCV can remain infectious on surfaces–wet or dry.
When I think about blood, I think about it in its liquid state first. But it can be freeze-dried (lyophilisation). Freeze-drying gives blood parts (and its viruses) a long shelf life.
Freeze-dried blood was sent to Europe in WWII, instead of whole blood. In the 1970s and 1980s freeze-dried blood protein powder concentrates from the US (for clotting) were reconstituted with water and thousands of unlucky recipients with hemophilia were infected with HCV and HIV.
…In the late 1960s it was discovered that if cryoprecipitate was dissolved, treated chemically and subjected to a centrifugal process, it produced a crystalline powder, which had ten times the clotting power of cryoprecipitate, and when dissolved in sterile water, could be injected at home. This became known as Factor VIII concentrate. The disadvantage was that to be processed economically it required a substantial amount of plasma, pooled from a large number of donors, thus increasing risk of transmission of infection from any one donor.
…The next step really was miraculous, when we came across Factor VIII concentrate because that did away with the clumsiness of extracting it all from the cryoprecipitate bags. It was just….put in solution into a syringe.
Update: PDF. The Lord Archer Inquiry, chapter 1 (2009)
The Archer Report provides an important historical perspective.
Here is a current description from the Blood Index (Dead LINK): “Factor VIII concentrates are a commercially prepared, lyophilized powder purified from human plasma to treat patients with hemophilia A or von Willebrand’s disease. Alternatively, recombinant (synthetic) protein is purified from genetically engineered non-human cells grown in tissue culture.”
In 2004, victims in the United Kingdom could receive no fault (ex gratia: “out of kindness”) compensation payments from the Skipton Fund if they were treated with blood, blood products, or tissues by the National Health Service (NHS) and became infected with HCV. This is a good U. K. resource about the crisis: http://www.taintedblood.info/index.php
They’ve uploaded many videos on their You Tube Channel. I’ve watched the Scotland Frontline Blood and Tears and the 1985 Bad Blood videos for background information. http://www.youtube.com/user/CampaignTB?feature=watch
What information do we have about the actual infectivity and survival rate of HCV in ordinary dried blood? Can answers can be found in (non-deactivated) HCV in freeze-dried clotting factor products and other freeze-dried blood products?
A lethal and potent recipe for HCV infections: Take some untreated freeze-dried blood products like Factor VIII (from a pool of thousands of donors per batch); stir in some water, get it into a victims blood stream (optimal: inject it) and instant HCV infection?
Updated 12/20/15 on UK situation
BBC article : 2009 Contaminated blood cases ‘tragic’
Guardian article 2009 ‘A horrific human tragedy’: report criticises response to blood scandal
Some 4,670 haemophiliacs were given blood contaminated with the hepatitis C virus and 1,200 were later unwittingly infected with HIV in the 1970s and 80s. The blood products came from commercial organisations in the US, whose paid donors included injecting drug users and prison inmates. More than 2,000 haemophiliacs who received the tainted blood are now dead.