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Concept: Dried blood spot testing


There is a need for neonatal screening tools to improve the long-term clinical outcome of patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID). Recently, a PCR-based screening method for both TRECs and KRECs using Guthrie card samples has been developed. However, the applicability of these excision circle assays is limited to patients with severe T or B cell lymphopenia (SCID, XLA and A-T), whereas the most common forms of PID are not detected. Absence of serum IgA is seen in a major fraction of patients with immunological defects. As serum IgA in newborns is considered to be of fetal origin, eluates from routinely collected dried blood spot samples might thus be suitable for identification of children with PID. To assess the applicability of such screening assays, stored Guthrie card samples were obtained from 47 patients with various forms of primary immunodeficiency diseases (SCID, XLA, A-T, HIGM and IgAD), 20 individuals with normal serum IgA levels born to IgA-deficient mothers and 51 matched healthy newborns. Surprisingly, normal serum IgA levels were found in all SCID, XLA, A-T and HIGM patients and, additionally, in all those IgAD patients born to IgA-sufficient mothers. Conversely, no serum IgA was found in any of the 16 IgAD patients born by IgA-deficient mothers. Moreover, half of the IgA-sufficient individuals born by IgA-deficient mothers also lacked IgA at birth whereas no IgA-deficient individuals were found among the controls. IgA in neonatal dried blood samples thus appears to be of both maternal and fetal origin and precludes its use as a reliable marker for neonatal screening of primary immunodeficiency diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Infant, Fetus, Maternal bond, Pediatrics, Immunodeficiency, Primary immunodeficiency, Dried blood spot testing


Background: The prevalence of hepatitis C (HCV) is elevated within prison populations, yet diagnosis in prisons remains low. Dried blood spot testing (DBST) is a simple procedure for the detection of HCV antibodies; its impact on testing in the prison context is unknown. Methods: We carried out a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized control trial of DBST for HCV among prisoners within five male prisons and one female prison. Each prison was a separate cluster. The order in which the intervention (training in use of DBST for HCV testing and logistic support) was introduced was randomized across clusters. The outcome measure was the HCV testing rate by prison. Imputation analysis was carried out to account for missing data. Planned and actual intervention times differed in some prisons; data were thus analysed by intention to treat (ITT) and by observed step times. Results: There was insufficient evidence of an effect of the intervention on testing rate using either the ITT intervention time (OR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.68-1.03; P = 0.088) or using the actual intervention time (OR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.71-1.06; P = 0.153). This was confirmed by the pooled results of five imputed data sets. Conclusions: DBST as a stand-alone intervention was insufficient to increase HCV diagnosis within the UK prison setting. Factors such as staff training and allocation of staff time for regular clinics are key to improving service delivery. We demonstrate that prisons can conduct rigorous studies of new interventions, but data collection can be problematic. Trial registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register (ISRCTN number ISRCTN05628482).

Concepts: Antibody, Experimental design, Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Prison, Prison sexuality, Intention to treat analysis, Dried blood spot testing


Despite immense progress in ART scale-up, many people still lack access to basic standards of care, with our ability to meet UNITAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets for HIV/AIDS dependent on dramatic improvements in diagnostics. WHO recommends routine monitoring of ART effectiveness using viral load (VL) testing at 6 months and every 12 months, to monitor treatment adherence and minimise failure and will publish its VL toolkit later this year. However, the cost and complexity of VL is preventing scale-up beyond developed countries and there is a lack of awareness among clinicians as to the long-term patient benefits and its role in prolonging the longevity of treatment programmes. With developments in this diagnostic field rapidly evolving - including the recent improvements for accurately using Dried Blood Spot (DBS) and the imminent appearance to the market of point-of-care (POC) technologies offering decentralised diagnosis - we describe current barriers to VL testing in resource-limited settings. Effective scale-up can be achieved through health- and laboratory-system strengthening and test price reductions, as well as tackling multiple programmatic and funding challenges.

Concepts: Viral load, Diagnosis, Effectiveness, Developed country, Software testing, Art, Human Development Index, Dried blood spot testing


People who inject drugs (PWID) are at high risk for acquiring hepatitis C virus (HCV), but many are unaware of their infection. HCV dried blood spot (DBS) testing increases case-finding in addiction services and prisons. We determine the cost-effectiveness of increasing HCV case-finding among PWID by offering DBS testing in specialist addiction services or prisons as compared to using venepuncture.

Concepts: Hepatitis, Hepatitis C, Drug addiction, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C virus, Dried blood spot testing


Demand for measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) is growing and dried blood spot (DBS) sampling is attractive as samples are easier to collect, transport and store.

Concepts: Spot, Spotz, Calcifediol, Dried blood spot testing


Viral load (VL) monitoring of HIV-infected patients in decentralized areas is limited due to logistic constraints. Dried Blood Spots (DBS) offer the opportunity to collect samples in remote area which can be easily transferred and tested at a central laboratory. The MOVIDA (Monitoring Of Viral load In Decentralized Area) project evaluated the performance of VL measurements on DBS using the new CE marked optimized Abbott protocol.

Concepts: HIV, Gene, Area, The Opportunity, Spot, Spotz, Acre, Dried blood spot testing


Dried blood spot (DBS) is a practical sampling strategy for pharmacokinetic studies in neonates. The utility of DBS to determine the population pharmacokinetics (pop-PK) of ampicillin, as well as accuracy versus plasma samples, was evaluated.

Concepts: Pharmacokinetics, Dried blood spot testing


Renal function can be estimated with formulas, which are inaccurate, or measured with gold standard methods, which are reliable but unpractical. We propose to simplify the plasma clearance of iohexol, a gold standard method to measure renal function, by dried blood spot (DBS) testing.

Concepts: Renal failure, Nephrology, Measurement, Metrology, Gold, Test method, Electrolyte, Dried blood spot testing


Late-onset Pompe disease is a rare genetic neuromuscular disorder caused by a primary deficiency of α-glucosidase and the associated accumulation of glycogen in lysosomal vacuoles. The deficiency of α-glucosidase can often be detected using an inexpensive and readily accessible dried blood spot test when Pompe disease is suspected. Like several neuromuscular disorders, Pompe disease typically presents with progressive weakness of limb-girdle muscles and respiratory insufficiency. Due to the phenotypic heterogeneity of these disorders, however, it is often difficult for clinicians to reach a diagnosis for patients with Pompe disease. Six hundred and six patients from a European population were recruited onto our study. Inclusion criteria stipulated that index cases must present with limb-girdle weakness or elevated serum creatine kinase activity. Whole exome sequencing with at least 250 ng DNA was completed using an Illumina exome capture and a 38 Mb baited target. A panel of 169 candidate genes for limb-girdle weakness was analysed for disease-causing variants.

Concepts: Gene, Cell, Muscle, Muscular system, Creatine kinase, Neuromuscular disease, Muscle weakness, Dried blood spot testing


The study objective was to compare rates of alcohol use between urine ethanol testing and self- reporting (Method: 1) and Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) dried blood spot testing and self-reporting (Method: 2).

Concepts: Alcohol, Ethanol, Yeast, Wine, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Vodka, Dried blood spot testing