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Materials specialists from the National University of Science and Technology MISIS (NUST MISIS) and their colleagues from the Chemistry Department of Lomonosov Moscow State University have developed a technology that makes it simpler, more reliable and cheaper to take biofluids samples, as well as to store and transport blood and biofluid samples in medicine and veterinary science.
Two approaches are currently used for transporting blood and biofluids in medicine and veterinary science: transportation of liquid samples and the manufacture of dried preparations with the subsequent restoration of solutions. Vacuum blood collection tubes used to transport liquid samples require special transportation and storage conditions, namely, containers where samples are stored at low, and often subzero, temperatures. As a rule, delivery timeframes are tight. Blood samples change their properties if preset temperatures or deadlines are violated during delivery and storage, leading to inaccurate results in medical tests.
Another method involves the use of dried samples for medical tests. For this purpose, several drops of blood are placed on special cellulose cards and dried. This method is difficult to use because Russia does not make such cellulose cards. Moreover, not every clinic has the expensive specialized equipment required to test dried preparations.
Photo: Courtesy of press-service of NUST MISiS
The National University of Science and Technology MISIS
“Due to the complicated structure of cellulose, blood is distributed unevenly on the carrier and becomes sorbed by the material, and this seriously distorts results,” Assistant Professor Alexander Osipov, Ph. D. (Chemistry), a senior research associate with NUST MISIS’ faculty of functional nanosystems, noted.
Russian scientists solved the problem by replacing the cellulose from which biofluids sampling cards are made with a specially prepared porous inorganic material containing nano-particles of metals.
The scientists have managed to come up with the right composition and form of absorbent, so that blood would be distributed evenly over the entire volume, and so that sorption levels would be minimized. In addition, blood components that are being tested would completely mix with the solution, while being washed off from the biofluids sampling card.
Modified samples dry about two times faster on the new material, and this considerably expedites the process of preparing samples. The new material’s advantage lies in the fact that there is no need to use special containers for transportation; an ordinary paper envelope would suffice. The delivery process is considerably simpler and cheaper, as compared to the use of containers and special-purpose vehicles.
NUST MISIS sources note that each hand-made card costs almost five times less than imported cellulose equivalents. In fact, one such card costs 40 rubles, rather than 180 rubles, even when produced in limited quantities. Their price will go down after large-scale production is launched.
The technology’s creators have patented it and have so far decided to focus on veterinary diagnostics. Experts working in this area have to conduct hundreds of thousands of tests all the time. As a rule, livestock farms, especially those in remote areas, lack the required conditions for doing this. Developers hope to mass-produce biofluids sampling cards by late 2017, after completing tests and certification procedures.