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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 20 July 2016. The next meeting will be due in mid-2017.

Gulf War Serum Management Committee – Summary of Activity 2014 and 2015

GW-SMC Meetings

The Committee met on 25 February 2014.

Standard Operating Procedures

The Standard Operating Procedures have been amended in line with requests made at the meeting on 25 February 2014. All procedures, as well as terms of reference and other related governance documents, have been consolidated into a single Manual for consideration by the GW-SMC at its next meeting.

Serum Storage Contract Arrangements

The Services Agreement between DVA and SA Pathology was due to end on 31 December 2015 and has been extended to 31 December 2020 (Deed of Variation signed 10 November 2015). The variation also included minor amendments to better align the Services Agreement with DVA’s latest Contract Management policies.

Storage and Inspection of Samples

An audit was conducted of the samples in 2013, finding all were accounted for, and this result was noted by the GW-SMC meeting on 25 February 2014.

Inspections of the samples were carried out on 11 February 2014 (report provided to GW-SMC meeting on 25 February 2014) and 28 April 2015 (to be provided to the next GW-SMC meeting). The Inspection Team on both occasions consisted of Mr Les Dwyer, Naval Association of Australia and Dr Warren Harrex, DVA Senior Medical Advisor.

In their April 2015 inspection reports, the Inspection Team was satisfied that all samples are being stored and maintained appropriately and reported that the padlocking had been replaced by a more modern system of electronic surveillance.

The next inspection is scheduled for 21 June 2016 and an inspection report will be provided to the Committee at its next meeting.

Destruction of Samples

No requests for the destruction of any samples were received in 2014 or 2015.

Access to Samples

No new requests for access to the study data or serum samples were received in 2014 or 2015.

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