Self-sampling strategies to facilitate mass testing

Project 23 Jul 2020
19
Professor Lalloo demonstrating the self-sampling technique under direction of LSTM researcher Lottie

Throughout the pandemic, serological testing has played a vital role in assessing what proportion of the population have already been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Currently, to test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, a venous blood sample must be obtained by a healthcare professional, usually in a clinic or hospital setting. 

Bringing individuals into this environment increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission and may deter vulnerable individuals from being tested. A valuable alternative may be self-collection of capillary blood at home and postage to a reference laboratory for serological analysis. The method may also be used in low resource-settings, where access to healthcare is limited.

The aim of this study is to determine if equivalent IgG ELISA results are obtained using venous and capillary blood samples. We will also evaluate whether equivalency is maintained by capillary samples stored at room temperate for 1, 3, 5 and 7 days, to imitate samples being sent in the post. Finally, by measuring the sample volume and asking our participants to complete a questionnaire, we will assess the feasibility of self-sampling.