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The Effects of Temperature on the ABAcard HemaTrace kit for the Identification of Human Blood

Shahari, Shahhaziq (2017) The Effects of Temperature on the ABAcard HemaTrace kit for the Identification of Human Blood. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Blood is often cited as the most informative form of evidence at a violent crime scene. DNA analysis enables the identification of individuals involved in a crime whilst blood pattern analysis enables the reconstruction of a crime scene. Prior to analysis, potential bloodstains found at a crime scene are processed via observation, documentation, followed by presumptive testing. This screening process eliminates substances that have a similar appearance to human blood therefore ensuring that time and resources are not wasted on samples with little or no forensic value.

The ABACard® HemaTrace® kit is a lateral flow immunochromatographic assay that targets human haemoglobin using antibodies and is used by the Western Australia (WA) Police as a test for the identification of human blood. However, WA Police officers have noted that in the northern regions of Western Australia, HemaTrace® kits have resulted in false negatives. It was postulated that this is due to prolonged exposure of the HemaTrace® kits to elevated storage temperatures resulting in a decrease in the HemaTrace® kit sensitivity and efficacy. However, a temperature stress test on HemaTrace has yet to be reported in the scientific literature and thus this hypothesis remains inconclusive. Thus, this literature review aims to critically assess the current literature pertaining to the HemaTrace® kits with emphasis on the sensitivity, specificity and robustness of the kits. As there are currently no studies that have investigated the effects of temperature on the performance of ABACard® HemaTrace® kit, this literature review will explore temperature studies on antibodies and other lateral flow immunochromatographic assays in order to postulate the effects of temperature on the HemaTrace® kits. Lastly, this literature review will outline parameters for potential research in order to evaluate whether elevated temperature exposure for prolonged periods is potentially responsible for the HemaTrace® false negatives obtained in northern WA.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Speers, James
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