Use of dried whole blood spots to measure CD4+ lymphocyte counts in HIV-1-infected patients

Lancet. 2003 Nov 1;362(9394):1459-60. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14693-4.


As antiretroviral drugs become widely available in developing countries, practical, field-friendly, and cheap methods of measuring CD4+ lymphocyte counts need to be developed. We tested use of whole blood spots dried on filter paper to measure CD4+ lymphocyte counts. We obtained blood from 42 HIV-1-infected patients from Zambia. We dried blood spots on filter paper and measured CD4+ lymphocyte counts with an established commercial enzyme immunoassay. We compared these measurements with those obtained from matched liquid whole-blood samples analysed with standard flow cytometry. Results of the filter-paper method accorded well with flow cytometry CD4 counts greater than 200 cells/microL (mean difference 13.6 [SD 52.4]). Dried whole blood stored on filter paper could be developed into a field-friendly alternative for CD4+ lymphocyte count measurements.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Specimen Collection / economics
  • Blood Specimen Collection / methods
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count / economics
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count / methods*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / economics
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Zambia


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic