Serial Panels’ Reactivity: A Fresh Specimen and New Reagents

If you get nonspecific reactions in your antibody workup, always check:

  1. Are the reagents near expiry (i.e. less than 1-2 weeks before the manufacturer’s listed date)?
  2. Is the specimen fresh?

In the Middle East and other locations with extreme environmental conditions, some reagents, especially antisera and reagent red cells may be suboptimal for use near their expiration date.  Likewise, an old specimen may show nonspecific reactions due to bacterial contamination.

My advice:  Consider repeating the testing with fresh reagents and a fresh specimen.  If there is an emerging antibody, it may be stronger in the new specimen and less likely that contamination is affecting the results.

The following antibody panels show how different the reactions are with a new specimen and fresh reagents versus the original workup, and how much easier it is to evaluate then.

Original specimen with antibody panel one week before expiry:

Repeating the workup with new antibody panel (five weeks until expiration) and a fresh specimen: