Diminished human immunodeficiency virus type 1 DNA yield from dried blood spots after storage in a humid incubator at 37 degrees C compared to -20 degrees C

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



*Cryopreservation; DNA, Viral; HIV-1; Hot Temperature; Humans; Humidity; *Specimen Handling


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Microbiology | Pediatrics


Collecting whole blood on filter paper simplifies the processing, transport, and storage of specimens used for the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and other tests. Specimens may be collected in tropical or rural areas with minimal facilities for handling specimens. To compare simulated tropical conditions with freezer storage, we examined the stability of HIV-1 DNA in dried blood spots (DBS) stored in humid heat and at -20 degrees C. DBS were created by spotting 50-microl aliquots of whole blood on 903 filter paper. DNA was extracted from DBS at baseline and after 2, 6, or 12 months of storage at -20 degrees C or at 37 degrees C with approximately 85% humidity. The DNA was tested undiluted or diluted using the Amplicor HIV-1 DNA PCR (Roche), version 1.5. Each reaction was scored positive, negative, or indeterminate based on optical density. Results were compared between storage conditions and over time. A total of 1,832 reactions from 916 DBS were analyzed, including 100 DBS at baseline, 418 stored at -20 degrees C, and 398 stored at 37 degrees C. A chi-square test showed fewer positive reactions for DBS stored at 37 degrees C (55%) than for those stored at -20 degrees C (78%) (P < 0.0001). Samples stored at -20 degrees C showed little change in the probability of detection of HIV-1 DNA over time; the odds ratio (OR) was 0.93 after storage for 1 year. Samples stored at 37 degrees C demonstrated a significant change in detection at 1 year (OR, 0.29). We conclude that exposure of DBS to 37 degrees C and high humidity impaired the recovery of HIV-1 DNA from DBS, whereas DNA recovery was preserved when DBS were stored frozen.

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Sep;46(9):2945-9. Epub 2008 Jul 9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical microbiology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID