Novel test tube method of screening for hemoglobin E

β-thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder which reduces the production of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cell throughout the body. Hemoglobin (Hb) Eis a b-structural variant of normal hemoglobin common worldwide. This HbE disorder can form a compound heterozygous state with the β-thalassemia gene, leading to life-threatening hereditary hemolytic anemia called HbE/ β -thalassemia. Screening of HbE has proven to be a challenging practice in prevention and control of the HbE/ β –thalassemia but now scientists stepped forward to develop a more convenient, ready- to-use screening test kit to screen HbE.


The research team at the Biomedical Technology Research Center, developed a novel test tube method for HbE screening using diethyl aminoethyl (DEAE)-cellulose resin. With the developed system, HbE/A2 does not bind to the resin and remains dissolved in the supernatant, whereas other Hbs completely bind to the resin. The red color of the supernatant observed in the test tube will indicate the presence of HbE. Colorless or markedly pale color of the supernatant shows the absence of HbE. Accuracy and efficiency of the established method in detecting HbE is comparable with the standard cellulose acetate electrophoresis method. In addition, this method is inexpensive and simple with no requirement of sophisticated equipment. The reagent can be stored at 4°C for up to 5 months. Hemolysate samples aged up to 5 months are still suitable for this test. This novel test tube method can be an alternative method of mass population screening for HbE, particularly in small health care facilities. Detailed of this study has been published in the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology

Posted on 20 January 2012