We came to this meeting in part to hold a round table discussion about the role of DBS sample collection. Excitingly for us, further exploration of DBS, including through multi-centre collaborations made it onto the list of 4 priorities coming from the meeting.
Dry Blood Spots are a simple way to collect a biological sample for analysis in the laboratory. You use a lancet to pierce the finger-tip and drip blood onto one or more target sites on a sheet of blotting paper. This sample is then dried, sent to the lab (through the mail or easily transported at room temperature) and then analysed in the lab. The spot is punched out of the blotting paper and eluted The lab can test for any number of things including the presence of antibody, molecular, and serological tests. Labs can use their own tests or test which are marketed through diagnostics companies using a variety of analysers.
In order to be approved (and rebated), a DBS claim needs to be made by a producer/supplier when the product is registered. This has been something which has held back DBS sample collection for some time. As tests became more sophisticated and analysers more mechanised, the operator-involved steps in processing a DBS sample probably seemed overwhelming.
But there are many factors which place a DBS sample in good light. Transportablity, durability and stability are all excellent in remote, hard to reach or poorly serviced areas. They also appear to provide an alternative for people who are, for whatever reason, avoiding testing through conventional means.
Two posters which also looked at DBS, both its use in one of the larger format analysers, and as an acceptable sample collection technique for consumers are below.