A novel method for the collection and transportation of dried-blood-plasma samples, SampleTanker (ST), was developed and compared to standard shipping protocols for frozen-plasma specimens containing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Matched frozen and dried 1-ml EDTA-containing plasma samples were collected and analyzed by several molecular-based virologic assays. After addition of 1.175 ml of reconstitution buffer, 1.035 ml of dried plasma was recovered. Mean intra-assay variances were 0.05, 0.05, and 0.06 log10 copies/ml for the Versant, Amplicor, and NucliSens QT HIV-1 load assays, respectively (P, not significant). However, mean HIV-1 viral load was consistently reduced in dried samples by 0.32 to 0.51 log10 copies/ml, depending on assay type (P < 0.05). Infectious HIV-1 was not recovered from dried ST plasma. There was no significant difference in HIV-1 viral load results obtained using ST after 8 weeks of storage at ambient temperature. Compared to frozen plasma, HIV-1 genotypic results were >99% concordant at the nucleotide and amino acid levels, as well as for resistance-associated mutations. We further demonstrated successful detection of multiple analytes, including HIV-1 viral load, HIV-1 antiretroviral resistance genotype, and HCV genotype, from a single ST unit. Dried plasma collected with ST yielded comparable results to frozen samples for multiple-analyte clinical testing. As such, ST could be a useful alternative for virologic tests and clinical trials worldwide by significantly diminishing transportation cost and the sample volume restrictions associated with dried-blood-spot technology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)