Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rapid Blood Test Coming

According to an article appearing in the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s newsletter, “The Point”, a new rapid blood typing test is expected to be ready by the end of the year. The test will provide a rapid, portable, and cost-efficient way to determine the blood type of potential donors, so that blood collection is safer for soldiers in the field.

Col. Karl Friedl, Director of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research (TATRC), said “Current blood screening methods are labor and time intensive with results available hours later at a remote collection center. Fast turnaround screening is needed to register new donors and to schedule blood draws in response to emergent medical needs.”

Sometimes blood products from military collection centers do not reach local areas of high demand because mobile surgical units have limited carrying capacity. Very often, medical personnel may have to wait hours or days to qualify a blood donor responding to emergency blood supply requirements.

The new “Micronics ABO/Rh Card” is a disposable credit card-sized device that can accurately determine ABO blood type and Rh factor from a single drop of blood in less than 30 seconds. It is the first device that does not require refrigeration or supporting equipment and works in a closed system to protect the blood sample and reagents from environmental contaminations.

The ABO/Rh card will make it possible to recruit individuals with specific blood types and put them at the head of the line. This will greatly help military field operations respond during times of natural disasters or other medical emergencies. The card also provides another layer of safety by enabling personnel in the field to confirm the blood type stated on the soldier’s dog tag.

TATRC has been collaborating with Micronics’ Dr. Diane Wierzbicki to help advance the care through clinical trials with the goal to get the FDA to approve the product and then get the product out to soldiers in the field. Wierzbicki also reports that TATRC has helped Micronics enlist investigators with access to large volunteer populations to complete field trials of the device in a timely manner.