The use of dried blood spot cards to assess serologic responses of individuals vaccinated against measles, hepatitis A, tetanus, influenza and varicella zoster

Brian Reinhardt, Robert Taylor, Colin Dawkins, Taylor Banks, Nora Watson, Appavu Sundaram, Daniel Ewing, Janine Ruth Danko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traditional blood sampling by venipuncture is cumbersome and relatively expensive. Dried blood spot (DBS) sampling is desirable because of its ease of sample collection, transportation and storage. It has been used in clinical diagnosis but not been thoroughly studied for the potential use to assess the immune status of individuals following natural infection or preventive vaccination. The goal of this study was to compare DBS to traditional blood samplings in detection of antibodies in individuals vaccinated against measles, hepatitis A, tetanus, influenza and varicella zoster. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to test DBS eluates and serum samples for antibodies against measles, varicella, tetanus and hepatitis A. Sensitivities, specificities, and correlation coefficients were evaluated to compare optical density (OD) values of paired serum and DBS samples. The long-term stability of DBS samples at different temperatures was assessed using simulated immune measles blood. DBS OD was highly correlated with serum OD for antibodies to measles (r = 0.93), varicella (r = 0.82), and tetanus (r = 0.91). Sensitivities of DBS OD ranged from 86-99% and specificities ranged from 96-100% using cut-offs established by each assay. By contrast, the hepatitis A data showed a low sensitivity (31%) and weak correlation (r = 0.14) between DBS and serum samples. Antibody titers in serum samples for anti-influenza A (H1N1 and H3N1) failed to correlate in DBS eluates in HAI and MN assays. DBS samples were stable for 4 weeks when stored at room temperature and for 6 months at 4°C. DBS sampling was sensitive, specific, and highly correlated with traditional venipuncture sampling in detection of antibodies against measles, tetanus and varicella zoster, but not hepatitis A and influenza. Thus, the success of using DBS sampling to assess the antibody levels in immunized individuals may be dependent on the pathogens and the development of the assay used.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0265813
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume17
Issue number3 March
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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