taking a specimen sample outside the clinic is now easier
by Neoteryx | 2 min read
When your are conducting a research study in a low-resource area and you need to collect blood samples via traditional venous puncture, there can be significant technological impediments. Tubes of collected blood require special handling and storage that isn't easily done in all situations. Poor handling and care can jeopardize the safety and stability of the blood samples.
Proper temperature regulation is imperative for protecting the integrity of wet blood. In many parts of the world, this can be a serious challenge. Domestic cooling appliances don't have sufficient insulation to maintain cool temperatures long enough in case of power outages. They also aren't equipped with alarms that sound when the temperature reaches unsafe levels.
Challenges of Collecting Specimen Samples in Low-Resource Regions
In many countries, rural facilities use generators to meet their power needs, but generators often can't provide permanent and reliable power for specialized equipment. Even facilities attached to a national power grid can experience surges or long outages that can damage refrigeration units. If proper storage conditions can't be maintained, all blood samples will need to be discarded.
A Simple Solution to Specimen Collection: Portable, Dried Matrix Microsampling
Microsampling involves taking a very small amount of blood instead of a large sample via traditional venous puncture. Remote microsampling tools enable greater portability and flexibility in regards to when and where sample collection can happen. New microsampling technology, such as the Mitra® device, is so user-friendly that anyone can take a blood sample with it after receiving minimal training. This device, used with a finger-prick method, allows for smaller samples to be taken.
This approach is easier on patients, and samples can be easily shipped to a central lab in a faraway location where testing can occur. With Mitra microsamples, the specimen dries on the device, which is enclosed inside a protective case or cartridge. This helps keep it stable until it reaches the lab for analysis as a dried matrix microsample. With dried matrix microsampling, no cold-chain shipping is required.
Recent surveys show a 20% increase in the number of research study respondents who regularly use microsampling when taking blood samples. The reasons that the survey takers cited for using microsampling include saving time and money, as well as increasing the quality of data that results from testing.
Much of the excitement around microsampling is due to its utility in the low-resource areas that need it most.