Transfus Med Hemother. 2022 Jun 14;49(6):379-387. doi: 10.1159/000524250. eCollection 2022 Dec.
BACKGROUND: To minimize the risk of disease transmission in cornea transplantation, donor screening for blood-derived viral infections is mandatory. Ideally, pre-mortem blood samples are used, but based on availability, cadaveric blood samples of cornea donors may also be used. However, serological and nucleic acid amplification tests (NATs) need to be validated for the use of cadaveric specimens.
METHODS: Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) 1/2, and Treponema pallidum (syphilis)-specific serological and/or NAT assays were validated on different platforms (Abbott Alinity i, Alinity m, Roche Cobas 6800, and Roche Cobas AmpliPrep/Cobas TaqMan (CAP/CTM)) using (un)spiked paired pre- and post-mortem cornea donor blood samples from the same individual (up to 23.83 h after death) of 28 individuals in accordance with the specifications of the German Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines (Paul-Ehrlich-Institut [PEI]). In addition, routinely HBV-, HCV- and HIV-PCR-negative tested post-mortem blood samples of 24 individuals were used to assess NAT specificity.
RESULTS: For the majority of serological parameters on the Abbott Alinity i (HBsAg, anti-HBc, anti-HBs, anti-HCV, anti-HIV, anti-HTLV 1/2, and anti-Treponema pallidum), ratios of generated test results of (un)spiked paired pre- and post-mortem blood samples differed ≤25%, with an agreement of qualitative pre- and post-mortem test results ranging from 91.2 to 100%. For NAT parameters (HBV, HCV, and HIV) on the Cobas 6800, Alinity m, and CAP/CTM, no significant deviation in virus concentrations (factor >5) of spiked pre- and post-mortem blood samples could be observed. Ct-values of corresponding internal controls did also not differ significantly (>1.5 Ct-values). In addition, no false-positive test results were generated when specificity was assessed.
CONCLUSION: Overall, fluctuations of test results for serological and NAT parameters in pre- and post-mortem blood samples examined in this study, were only limited and within the range of what is also observed when routinely testing fresh patient specimens. We conclude that all examined assays are eligible for the screening of blood samples taken up to about 24 h after the occurrence of death.