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the microsampling blog

is dried blood a biohazard?

Working with traditional wet blood specimens has always raised safety concerns and posed logistical challenges. Blood sample storage and cold chain shipping of biofluid samples requires navigating a complicated maze of regulatory issues that require wet blood samples to be handled as a biohazard. It's no wonder that dried blood sampling techniques have emerged in the last few decades as a preferable alternative to wet sampling, in many cases.

Cold Ship Blood Samples_iStock-1278504014

Working with wet blood, collected using traditional venipuncture methods, brings with it the full range of obligations associated with handling and disposing of biohazardous materials – not to mention the significant risks.

By contrast, dried blood handling is not considered to be as hazardous and, therefore, is not subjected to the same stringent biohazard requirements.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidelines around handling and shipping dried blood specimens. While important safety precautions must be recognized and put in place, the guidelines for handling dried capillary blood specimens are not as rigorous as those for wet blood and other serious biohazards. Clearly, dried blood is not considered a biohazard in the same way that wet blood is.

How are dried blood samples shipped?

dried-blood-sample-no-cold-chain-shippingBlood samples collected using volumetric microsampling devices like the hemaPEN® or the Mitra® device with VAMS® technology are considered stable at ambient temperatures. This means that the dried blood samples don't require cold storage, special handling or cold shipping.

Research scientists and care providers can send these volumetric microsampling devices in sample collection kit boxes to people at home for remote sample collection.

After using the kits and devices for blood sample collection in a remote setting, the sampled devices can be closed inside their plastic casing and sealed inside a foil specimen bag.

lightbox-Hemapen-with-bag-2The sealed specimen bag can be placed inside the provided shipping envelope and mailed to the laboratory via standard post.

The envelope and the microsampling device sealed inside it are not considered a risk during shipping, because the specimens are dried and closed up inside the device container.

Per CDC guidelines, taking and sending capillary blood samples is easier, but the process may still have its challenges. Fortunately, Mitra Microsample Collection Kits include detailed instructions and all the supplies needed for collecting volumetrically accurate blood samples anywhere, at any time.

mitra-remote-at-home-blood-collection-kitVirtually anyone can collect a remote blood sample using these finger-stick sampling kits, with minimal training.

The kits can be fully customized to include instructions in multiple languages, with web links to training videos, or to meet other requirements of research study managers or clinical trial managers.

Research scientists around the globe have transitioned to dried blood microsampling in their studies to avoid the costs and complexities of storing and shipping wet blood as a biohazard.

Visit our resource pages to learn more about dried blood microsampling.

Learn how others apply microsampling to advance research and healthcare in a range of industriesIn some territories our devices are supplied for therapeutic or IVD use Outside of those territories our devices are supplied for research use only

Image credits: Trajan, Neoteryx, iStock

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