Impact of pooling on accuracy of hepatitis B virus surface antigen screening of blood donations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary Expenditure on screening blood donations in developing countries can be reduced by testing donations in pools. This study evaluated serological screening in pools for hepatitis B virus (HBV) at the Israeli national blood bank and a hospital blood bank in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority. The accuracy of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) enzyme immunoassay performed on pools of 3–24 samples was compared with individual tests. Delay in detecting positive samples due to dilution in pools and the possibility of antibody-antigen neutralization were analyzed. The sensitivity of pooled testing for HBsAg was 93–99%, prolonging the window period by 5 days (8.3%). Neutralization of HBsAg by hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) could be minimized by testing immediately after pooling. Serological testing for HBsAg in pools may be performed using manually created pools of up to six samples, with 5% loss in sensitivity and a risk of neutralization by anti-HBs present in the donor population. Pooling can therefore be considered as an option only in countries with a low prevalence of HBV.

publication date

  • May 1, 2008