A comparison of three quantitative methods to estimate G6PD activity in the chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh

Benedikt Ley, Mohammad Shafiul Alam, James J. O'Donnell, Mohammad Sharif Hossain, Mohammad Golam Kibria, Nusrat Jahan, Wasif Ali Khan, Kamala Ley-Thriemer, Mark D. Chatfield, Ric N. Price, Jack S. Richards

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Background: Glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase-deficiency (G6PDd) is a major risk factor for primaquine- induced haemolysis. There is a need for improved point-of-care and laboratory-based G6PD diagnostics to unsure safe use of primaquine. 

Methods: G6PD activities of participants in a cross-sectional survey in Bangladesh were assessed using two novel quantitative assays, the modified WST-8 test and the CareStart™ G6PD Biosensor (Access Bio), The results were compared with a gold standard UV spectrophotometry assay (Randox). The handheld CareStart™ Hb instrument (Access Bio) is designed to be a companion instrument to the CareStart™ G6PD biosensor, and its performance was compared to the well-validated HemoCue™ method. All quantitative G6PD results were normalized with the HemoCue™ result. 

Results: A total of 1002 individuals were enrolled. The adjusted male median (AMM) derived by spectrophotometry was 7.03 U/g Hb (interquartile range (IQR): 5.38-8.69), by WST-8 was 7.03 U/g Hb (IQR: 5.22-8.16) and by Biosensor was 8.61 U/g Hb (IQR: 6.71-10.08). The AMM between spectrophotometry and WST-8 did not differ (p = 1.0) but differed significantly between spectrophotometry and Biosensor (p<0.01). Both, WST-8 and Biosensor were correlated with spectrophotometry (rs = 0.5 and rs = 0.4, both p<0.001). The mean difference in G6PD activity was -0.12 U/g Hb (95% limit of agreement (95% LoA): -5.45 to 5.20) between spectrophotometry and WST-8 and -1.74U/g Hb (95% LoA: -7.63 to 4.23) between spectrophotometry and Biosensor. The WST-8 identified 55.1% (49/89) and the Biosensor 19.1% (17/89) of individuals with G6PD activity <30% by spectrophotometry. Areas under the ROC curve did not differ significantly for the WST-8 and Biosensor irrespective of the cut-off activity applied (all p>0.05). Sensitivity and specificity for detecting G6PD activity <30% was 0.55 (95% confidence interval (95%CI): 0.44-0.66) and 0.98 (95%CI: 0.97-0.99) respectively for the WST-8 and 0.19 (95%CI: 0.12-0.29) and 0.99 (95%CI: 0.98-0.99) respectively for the Biosensor. Hb concentrations measured by HemoCue™ and CareStart ™ Hb were strongly correlated (rs = 0.8, p<0.001, mean difference = 0.09 g Hb/dL, 95% LoA: -2.15 to 2.34). 

Conclusion: WST-8 and the CareStart™ G6PD Biosensor represent advances in G6PD diagnostics in resource poor settings, but will require further development before clinical deployment. The CareStart™ Hb instrument produced a precise measure of haemoglobin concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0169930
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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