Volume 93, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Loss of sample integrity during specimen transport can lead to false-negative diagnostic results. In an effort to improve upon the status quo, we used dengue as a model RNA virus to evaluate the stabilization of RNA and antibodies in three commercially available sample stabilization products: Whatman FTA Micro Cards (GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA), DNAstāble Blood tubes (Biomātrica, San Diego, CA), and ViveST tubes (ViveBio, Alpharetta, GA). Both contrived and clinical dengue-positive specimens were stored on these products at ambient temperature or 37°C for up to 1 month. Antibody and viral RNA levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays, respectively, and compared with frozen unloaded controls. We observed reduced RNA and antibody levels between stabilized contrived samples and frozen controls at our earliest time point, and this was particularly pronounced for the FTA cards. However, despite some time and temperature dependent loss, a 94.6–97.3% agreement was observed between stabilized clinical specimens and their frozen controls for all products. Additional considerations such as cost, sample volume, matrix, and ease of use should inform any decision to incorporate sample stabilization products into a diagnostic testing workflow. We conclude that DNAstāble Blood and ViveST tubes are useful alternatives to traditional filter paper for ambient temperature shipment of clinical specimens for downstream molecular and serological testing.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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Supplementary PDF

  • Received : 06 Feb 2015
  • Accepted : 24 Mar 2015
  • Published online : 08 Jul 2015

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