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Stability of Blood Samples
Jan 18, 2004

When a blood sample for CD4+ or VL is taken, can increases in time of storage or shipment affect the results and in what direction? My physician never wants to take a blood sample on a Friday because it "will just sit around all weekend" implying a poor quality result. Do the anticoagulant/preservatives in blood/serum/plasma tubes deactivate the virus?

I have found one of your recent related publications:

Stability of plasma human immunodeficiency virus load in VACUTAINER PPT plasma preparation tubes during overnight shipment. Holodniy M; Rainen L; Herman S; Yen-Lieberman B. Journal of clinical microbiology [J Clin Microbiol] 2000 Jan; 38 (1), pp. 323-6.

Do you have additional longer term storage data on other than overnight storage/shipping?

What brings this to my mind is that the HIV virus is still active in stored samples and with the rate of replication, this (in my very foggy understanding of the relevant biology) may present a somewhat moving target to the clin lab assays. Add in the plasma concentrations and activity of HAART drugs and this (to me at least) becomes somewhat confounding in the interpretation of lab results and subsequent therapeutic decisions.

Perhaps all of this has already been studied and if not it may be the subject for your next study.

Thanks in advance.

Sincerely, Very stooopid guy recently infected after a bad decision and on early HAART

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Nobody is going to do exhaustive studies on this topic. Labs work very hard to process samples in a timely fashion. Tolerance limits have been established and approved by the FDA on what constitutes an acceptable time for processing. If there are issues with sample handling then the test should be repeated on a fresh sample.



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