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J Viral Hepat. 2005 Nov;12(6):642-7.

Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia and alpha-foetoprotein detection from dried blood spots: applications to field-based studies and to clinical care in hepatitis B virus endemic areas.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. mmendy@mrc.gm

Abstract

In many resource-limited regions with endemic hepatitis B virus (HBV), there is limited infrastructure to collect, process, transport, and store blood samples for identification of persons with chronic HBV infection or with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We describe the application of a simple technique using commercially available kits for detection of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) and alpha-foetoprotein (AFP) in dried blood spots (DBS) collected on filter paper. Study participants included subjects with and without chronic HBV infection and subjects with HCC or cirrhosis. Three to five blood drops were dried on filter paper. Dried blood (equivalent to 20 muL) was eluted and tested for HBsAg by Determine(TM) HBsAg and for AFP by counter-current immuno-electrophoresis and radio-immunoassay (RIA). The primary analysis focused on comparison of DBS results to serum testing results as the gold standard. The sensitivity of DBS for detecting chronic HBV infection was 96% (98-98) with specificity of 100% (CI 99-100). Sensitivity of DBS in detecting AFP compared with serum RIA was 73% (60-86) with specificity of 90% (81-98). Both HBsAg and AFP recovery were unaffected when DBS were left at room temperature (30-33 degrees C) and under humid conditions for up to 28 days prior to elution. We conclude that DBS can be reliably used as an economical and logical alternative for detection of HBsAg in chronically infected patients and for AFP-based diagnosis of HCC in clinical situations which preclude adequate collection and processing of blood samples. Both research-oriented field studies and routine clinical care may benefit from application of these techniques in resource-limited settings.

PMID:
16255766
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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