Research presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Denmark showed that a single drop of blood can now detect HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Stephen Nilsson-Møller and colleagues at the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Denmark validated the tests, reports Medical XpressMedical Xpress, in which an individual’s finger is pricked and a few spots of blood collect on the filter.
The testing equipment, a Hologic Panther System, then uses a transcription technique amplified to analyze one of the blood spots for genetic material from the three viruses.
Twenty samples with hepatitis B, C, and HIV were used and analyzed for the initial tests, and the viruses were detected in all 60 of the samples.
“We’ve shown that using existing hospital equipment, it is possible to detect HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C from a single drop of blood,” said Nilsson-Møller. “The dried blood spot test is ideal for places where you don’t want to use a needle for safety reasons or where it is less practical. This includes prisons, drug rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters.”
Detection like this could aid in the World Health Organization’s goal to eliminate all three of these viruses by 2030. It is currently estimated that, annually, around one million people die from hepatitis B or C and 650,000 people from HIV.
“[The test] is also suitable for developing countries or places where you run the risk of a blood sample being ruined before it is transferred to a laboratory that can analyze it,” said Nilsson-Møller. “Blood samples need to be analyzed within six hours when kept at room temperature, while dried blood spots can last for nine months without refrigeration.”