Global Health & Medicine 2021;3(6):394-400.
Validation of mailed via postal service dried blood spot cards on commercially available HIV testing systems
Hayashida T, Takano M, Tsuchiya K, Aoki T, Gatanaga H, Kaneko N, Oka S
The demand for HIV testing using dried blood spots (DBS) has increased recently. However, DBS is not an approved sample for HIV testing in Japan. This study examined the validation of HIV testing with DBS, prepared at the laboratory or remotely and mailed via postal service to the laboratory. DBS were punched out from a 5.5 mm diameter circle on filter paper, then eluted with 600 μL of phosphate buffered saline overnight at 4℃, and analyzed by Lumipulse S HIVAg/Ab (LUM). The mean LUM count of DBS was 237.4-times diluted compared to titrated plasma. Repeated sample testing showed that although LUM count of DBS decreased slightly with increase in sample storage time (up to one month), it did not affect the result of HIV testing with DBS. Based on testing of 50 HIV+ confirmed cases and 50 HIV- persons, the estimated sensitivity was 98% (49/50) with a specificity of 100% when the cut-off value is 0.5. The single false negative case was a patient with undetectable viral load over the last 10 years, resulting in a decrease of antibody titer below the cut-off level. In conclusion, although DBS cannot completely replace plasma in HIV testing because the sensitivity was a little lower than that of plasma, it can be potentially useful for a screening test by self-finger-prick and postal service use. This will allow people to receive HIV testing without visiting public health centers.