Dried blood spot specimen quality and validation of a new pre-analytical processing method for qualitative HIV-1 PCR, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

African Journal of Laboratory Medicine
Kerusha GovenderPravikrishnen Moodley


Poor quality dried blood spot (DBS) specimens are usually rejected by virology laboratories, affecting early infant diagnosis of HIV. The practice of combining two incompletely-filled DBS in one specimen preparation tube during pre-analytical specimen processing (i.e., the two-spot method) has been implemented to reduce the number of specimens being rejected for insufficient volume. This study analysed laboratory data to describe the quality of DBS specimens and the use of the two-spot method over a one-year period, then validated the two-spot method against the standard (one-spot) method. Data on HIV-1 PCR test requests submitted in 2014 to the Department of Virology at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa were analysed to describe reasons for specimen rejection, as well as results of the two-spot method. The accuracy, lower limit of detection and precision of the two-spot method were assessed. Of the 88 481 specimens received, 3.7% were rejected for pre-analytical problems. Of those, 48.9% were rejected as a result of insufficient specimen volume. Two health facilities had significantly more specimen rejections than other facilities. The two-spot method prevented 10 504 specimen rejec...Continue Reading


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