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Gulf War Veterans' Health Study

Australian Gulf War veterans' health study cover - five warships on water.The Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Health Study was the first comprehensive health study of a group of Australian War veterans involved in a single theatre of war. It was conducted by a collaborative medical research team from the Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine at Monash University, Health Services Australia Ltd, the University of Western Australia, and The Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.

A follow up to the original 2003 study was completed in 2015.  Please see Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Follow Up Health Study 2015  for details.

The Gulf War Serum Management Committee (GW-SMC) continues to monitor the storage of blood serum samples donated by Gulf War Health Study participants. The most recent activity report of the GW-SMC is available below. This report was presented to the GW-SMC meeting held on 25 February 2014. The next meeting is scheduled for 20 July 2016.

2013 Status Report - Gulf War Serum Management Committee

Standard Procedures

There are documented Standard Procedures that reflect all aspects of the management and storage of serum samples.  These were reviewed in 2012.

At the Gulf War Serum Management Committee (GW-SMC) meeting on 30 November 2012, an updated version was presented with changes requested by the Committee at their 2011 meeting. These changes were accepted by the Committee.  Further changes were requested by the Committee to be made to item 9.  The changes will be re-submitted at the next GW-SMC meeting.

Contract Arrangements

There were no changes to the serum storage contract arrangements with SA Pathology during 2013. 

Storage of Serum Samples

There were no changes to the storage of the serum samples in 2013.

Inspection of Samples

An inspection of the samples was carried out on 14 March 2013.  The Inspection Team included two members of the GW- SMC, Mr Les Dwyer (Naval Association Australia), Dr Warren Harrex (DVA Senior Medical Advisor).

The Inspection Team was satisfied that all the samples were correctly stored and managed, and there were no issues identified for follow-up.

Audit of Samples

It was proposed by the Committee members at the GW-SMC meeting in November 2012 that an audit of the blood serum samples be undertaken.  SA Pathology has provided the GW-SMC with comprehensive information on how this audit should be conducted.  Approval and cost estimates for the audit have been received and an official order has been raised for SA Pathology to undertake the audit.

Destruction of Samples

No destruction of samples has taken place during 2013.  However, at the last meeting held in November 2012 it was agreed that a more formalised process be set up to ensure the correct procedure or protocol for the destruction of serum samples if a request to do so is received.  Such a process would include the following:

  • Set up a formalised process when requests are made for destruction of serum samples.
  • Check current contractual arrangements regarding the destruction of serum samples.
  • Amend Standard Procedures to include the protocol on the destruction of serum samples.
  • Any request for destruction of a sample must be validated at the time of a serum inspection being undertaken.
  • Data custodian to notify owner of sample when destruction is to take place.

Access to Samples

No requests for access to the study data or serum samples were received in 2013.


There have been no changes to the ongoing costs of the storage of the Gulf War serum samples.

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