Founded in 2016. We are passionate about enabling more convenient solutions for patient centric sampling, ensuring more reliable test results for healthcare and other providers of tests based on blood or plasma.

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Learn About Capitainer

Capitainer® Makes Self-Sampling Easy and Accurate

Easy to use

Designed for self sampling.
High success rate for first time users.

Accurate

Quantitative sampling with the accuracy & precision of traditional pipetting.

Trusted

Next generation of dried blood spots, the established standard for blood sampling.

Sampling solutions for quantitative microsample collection.

We have designed our devices to eliminate the risk of over- or under-fill and integrated an instant successful sampling indication. The device is slim and can be shipped back to the laboratory by regular mail.

Capitainer® Collection Devices

Capitainer®B - Easy, Reliable, Accurate Dried Blood Spot Sampling

Capitainer®B (formerly known as Capitainer®qDBS) is the next generation dried blood spot sampling card based on our qDBS technology. It empowers healthcare providers, researchers and laboratories across the world to provide accurate and easy to use at-home sampling solutions for their customers and patients.

Accurate

Automatically meters 2×10µl of blood

Reliable

The design eliminates the risk of over- or under-fill

Trusted

Successful sampling indicator integrated in the device

Protected sample

Sample protected from contamination within the device

Userfriendly

Simply apply one drop of blood to the inlet

The Next Generation Dried Blood Spot Sampling Cards

Capitainer®B accurately collects 10 μl whole blood from finger stick. It is developed to be easy to use with guarantied sample quality. Capitainer’s paper based drying pouch allows the sample to dry during transportation. No drying step is required by the user. All aspects of the device are designed to make sampling easy for the user.

The next generation dried blood spot sampling cards

DBS has been used since the 1960s when introduced in newborn screening. A major drawback of conventional DBS cards is the lack of volumetric control and the hematocrit (Ht) effect. As a different Ht, due to different blood viscousity, leads to different spot size a standardized subpunch on conventional DBS does still not provide an exact volume. These limitations reduce conventional DBS to qualitative or semiquantitative analysis, while most clinical tests are quantitative.

The microfluidic technology of the Capitainer®qDBS card provides an exact volume to a pre-cut DBS disc. Since the full volume defined spot is used for analysis, the Ht effect is overcome and the microsample can be used for quantitative tests. Methods have been published for over 2000 analytes from conventional DBS, these can now be developed into quantitative tests with the new generation of DBS cards from Capitainer.

Technical Specifications

Size

Dimensions: 78 x 43 x 3 mm
Sample volume: 2 x 10 µl

Material

DBS paper: Ahlstrom grade 222
>80% of the device is paper based
<1,2 grams of plastics per device

Accuracy

Reproducibility:
Better than 0.5 μl as one Standard
Deviation (SD), (CV <5%)

Outliers:
Rate of over- or under-sampling
(with a deviation >3 SD) <0.1%
Non-sampling: <5%

Operating Conditions

Temperature range: +15°C to +35°C
Relative humidity range: 15% to 90%
Hematocrit value: 25% to 55%

The card must be used within 30 minutes from opening the package.

Sample Storage

Collected Capitainer B  samples can be stored at room temperature.

The stability of individual analytes in DBS samples should be validated by the responsible laboratory. In general, stability increases with lower temperature and lower humidity. Capitainer B discs can be stored in the freezer to extend stability. Please refer to the extensive literature for traditional DBS samples as guidance for individual analytes.

Disposal

Dispose according to local regulations. Take care with blood stained materials and sharps.

Regulatory

Capitainer B is CE-marked, registered as an IVD product according to the 98/97EC In vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Directive and registered with the US FDA as a Device Class 1.

Capitainer®B Vanadate- A Better Sampling Standard For PEth Testing

Capitainer®B Vanadate is a next generation dried blood spot sampling solution that is empowering laboratories across the world to provide fast and accurate PEth testing servcies.

Capitainer®B Vanadate is based on our accurate and reliable qDBS technology. In addition, it incorporates our proprietary technology for integrating the phospholipase D (PLD) inhibitor sodium metavanadate (NaVO3) in the DBS paper disc.

Reliable

Volumetric, solves the problem with traditional DBS

Convenient

Enables easier sampling via finger blood

Accurate

Enables accurate testing of Phosphatidylethanol (PEth)

Userfriendly

Shipping and storage of the sample in ambient temperature

Protected sample

Eliminates the risk of post sampling PEth formation

A New Standard for PEth Analysis

Capitainer®B Vanadate is the only volumetric microsampling device scientifically shown to enable accurate PEth testing without risk of post sampling formation [1]. Microsampling with fingerblood enables alcohol testing without need for phlebotomy.

About phosphatidylethanol (PEth)

PEth is a direct biomarker for alcohol consumption and is only produced in the presence of ethanol.  This is in contrast to for example GGT (Gamma glutamyl transpeptidase) an indirector marker of alcohol use as a marker for liver inflammation that can be caused by dozens of drugs and also infections. PEth (phosphatidylethanol) is found in red blood cells and is an abnormal phospholipid that is formed in the presence of ethanol. It is formed via a transphosphatidylation reaction of phospholipase D (PLD). PEth accumulates with frequent alcohol consumption with a half-life of approximately 4 days. Therefore, PEth is a biomarker for long term alcohol use.

In blood that contains ethanol at sampling, PEth may continue to form after sampling [2]. This may lead to falsely elevated PEth concentrations. This is a well described phenomenon in venous blood samples were storage temperature and shipping conditions need to be controlled in order to limitit In Vitro formation. However, the formation of PEth can be stopped through inhibiting the PLD activity. Sodium metavanadate (NaVO3) is an effective PLD inhibitor.

We recommend reading the full publication of Beck et al. [1] for more details regarding the advantages with Capitainer®B Vanadate in PEth analysis.

    1. Beck, O., Mellring, M., Löwbeer, C. et al. Measurement of the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol (PEth) in dried blood spots and venous blood—importance of inhibition of post-sampling formation from ethanol. Anal Bioanal Chem 413, 5601–5606 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-021-03211-z
    2. Schröck A, Henzi A, Bütikofer P, König S, Weinmann W. Determination of the formation rate of phosphatidylethanol by phospholipase D (PLD) in blood and test of two selective PLD inhibitors. Alcohol. 2018 Dec;73:1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2018.03.003

Technical Specifications

Size

Dimensions: 78 x 43 x 3 mm
Sample volume: 2 x 10 µl

Material

DBS paper: Ahlstrom grade 222
>80% of the device is paper based
<1,2 grams of plastics per device

Accuracy

Reproducibility:
Better than 0.5 μl as one Standard
Deviation (SD), (CV <5%)

Outliers:
Rate of over- or under-sampling
(with a deviation >3 SD) <0.1%
Non-sampling: <5%

Operating Conditions

Temperature range: +15°C to +35°C
Relative humidity range: 15% to 90%
Hematocrit value: 25% to 55%

The card must be used within 30 minutes from opening the package.

Sample Storage

Collected Capitainer B Vanadate samples can be stored at room temperature.

The stability of individual analytes in DBS samples should be validated by the responsible laboratory. In general, stability increases with lower temperature and lower humidity. Capitainer B Vanadate discs can be stored in the freezer to extend stability. Please refer to the extensive literature for traditional DBS samples as guidance for individual analytes.

Disposal

Dispose according to local regulations. Take care with blood stained materials and sharps.

Regulatory

Capitainer B Vanadate is CE-marked, registered as an IVD product according to the 98/97EC In vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Directive.

Additional Products

Ready to use sampling kits

All Capitainer devices can be delivered in ready to use sampling kits.
The kit comes in a small box and contains all that´s needed for easy and successful self-sampling.

A kit contains:

  • 1 Capitainer sampling card
  • 1 Self sampling instruction
  • 2 Lancets
  • 1 Desinfection swab
  • 1 Gauze pad
  • 1 Adhesive bandage

The kit can also be supplied with your preferred branding, both on the sampling instructions and on the box itself.

All kits are produced upon order.

Designed to protect and allow the sample to dry during shipment

The Semi-Automated Puncher

Designed for the Capitainer® sampling technology platform.

  • Reliable operation
    Optical monitoring ensures that the punched disk is correctly placed in the microtiter plate.
  • High traceability
    Reading of sample barcodes eliminates the risk of manual errors.
  • Ergonomics
    Design supports an ergonomic workplace.

Adaptable for different heights of 96 well plates. Includes optional cleaning step of the puncher head between punches.
Puncher is controlled via intuitive software which includes features such as barcode reading, punched disc detection and export of data to a spreadsheet in XLSX format.

How to Use

Whether you are a patient seeking to understand how to use our self-sampling device at home, or a laboratory professional wishing to learn how the devices should be processed once they are shipped back to your facility, our clear instructional videos and written explanations will give you all the information you need.

Please use the channels below to find usage instructions and answers to many common questions.

Sampling With Capitainer®qDBS Is Easy

A drop of blood is produced by finger-prick and transferred to the device inlet port. This is the only action required by the user.

It has been demonstrated that 97 % of untrained, first time users (n=2500) can successfully collect a sample which is good enough for clinical decision making.

It is important to follow the user instructions to ensure successful sampling. You will find all the information that you need for this here.

1. Open and unfold the Capitainer®qDBS card.

2. Fingerprick with a suitable lancet.

3. Apply one hanging drop of blood to each inlet.

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4. Confirm successful sampling, close, seal and mark with unique ID.

5. Send in the regular mail. No special transport is needed.

How sampling with Capitainer® works

View our English explainer video.

Capitainer®qDBS – Sampling by a Healthcare Professional

Capitainer®qDBS – Blood Sampling – Important Steps.

Download User Instructions

For Lab Professionals

Capitainer®qDBS and Capitainer®B Vanadate sampling solutions can be easily adopted by any laboratory in six simple steps.

1) Laboratory Validation

Capitainer®qDBS and Capitainer®B Vanadate is designed for finger-pricking, i.e. using fresh blood. However, you might want to start your validation experiments with venous blood and pipetting it to the cards in the lab. There are some aspects to consider when you do this:.

  • Do not use blood older than three days stored in the refrigerator and let blood come to room temperature before using it on the cards.
  • All blood samples should be well mixed using a rocker prior to application to the card.
  • If you use a syringe dispenser, you should make sure to apply blood to the cards within 5 minutes from last time mixing.
  • 30µl is the recommended volume to apply, which corresponds to the volume of a big drop of finger blood.
  • Lyophilized blood products may not work.
  • Make sure that the DBS disc is completely dry before removal. A wet disc might  not detach correctly from the card.

2) Shipping

We have designed our paper based shipping method to reduce waste and minimise the carbon footprint of your workflows. The packaging approach follows the CDC triple packaging guidelines for DBS specimen collection.[1] We strongly recommend the use of our shipping method.

However, if your analytes are sensitive to humidity and / or temperature, alternative approaches such as storing the samples in aluminium coated plastic bags and inclusion of desiccant pouches should be considered. The approach taken for individual analytes will need to be appropriately validated.

For more guidance, please check the extensive literature on DBS.

The paper “Dried blood spots: Effects of less than optimal collection, shipping time, heat, and humidity” gives an introduction to the topic.

[1] Shipping Guidelines for Dried-Blood Spot Specimens (cdc.gov)

3) Pre-Analysis

The disc containing the blood is easily accessed from the reverse of the card by peeling away the protective tabs.

The discs can be removed manually with tweezers and put it into a suitable tube or plate for extraction. We recommend a flat tip tweezer.

Capitainer also provides a semi-automated puncher system. The puncher is equipped with a barcode scanner, optical detection of the disc in the wells and an optional cleaning step for the puncher head between each sample. The semi-automated puncher saves time and also ensures traceability of each sample for the downstream analysis process.

The Capitainer puncher system is calibrated at delivery for your 96-well plate of choice.

We highly recommend use of the automated puncher solution for larger projects and/or frequent analysis.

4) Elute the Sample

After collection of the disc, the sample is eluted. The choice of elution protocol and buffer is dependent on your analyte and downstream analysis. Published methods with conventional DBS samples are also applicable for Capitainer®qDBS and could serve as a guideline.

Standard Procedure:

Add your buffer of choice to the tubes or plate wells containing the discs. 100-150µl is a guide, but must be adjusted depending on concentration and volume requirements. This gives a 10-15 times sample dilution to calculate for in downstream analysis. The discs absorbs approximately 20µl diluent that will not be recovered with the standard protocol. We do not recommend lower elution buffer volume than 50µl for an efficient elution process.

Gently agitate the tube/plate containing disc and extraction buffer for 30-60 minutes and then transfer the liquid to a clean tube or plate.

With Spin Filter Tubes/Plates:

To reduce the diluent volume and introduce a clean-up step, the use of spin columns/plates to elute the sample might be considered. This has the benefit of also recovering most of the 20µL liquid absorbed by the disc.

1.Choose appropriate filter for your analyte

2.Add the qDBS disc to the column

3.Apply buffer, gently agitate for 60 min

4.Spin down the eluate, discard column + disc

For automation setup, the use of this extraction principle has the benefit of producing an eluate without the DBS disc remaining at the bottom of the wells. This means that pipetting robots potentially can go down deeper in the well and thereby pipette from lower volumes.

Certain liquid handling robots can also handle filter plates, thereby enabling a fully automated workflow for assay setup downstream of the disk removal.

5) Analysis of the Sample

The eluted samples are ready for analysis on your selected platform. Among the techniques and platforms used with samples from Capitainer are:

Mass spectrometry
Elisa
PCR
Capillary electrophoresis
Immunochemistry
Luminex xMAP®

The review “State of the Science in Dried Blood Spots” describes a range of analytes measurable in DBS samples. These approaches should also be applicable to the quantitative analysis of Capitainer®qDBS samples.

6) Post Analysis

For venous sampling, large volumes of blood are discarded, since only small volumes are typically used for analysis. Self-sampling with Capitainer® reduces this waste. Please, always follow your local regulations regarding waste handling of dried samples.

If not discarded, samples are often stored in biobanks. Venous samples are typically transferred to tubes and frozen at -80 °C. This is costly, consumes a lot of energy and takes up a large amount of space. qDBS samples offer the possibility to biobank samples in a simpler and more cost efficient way.

The paper “Stability of Proteins in Dried Blood Spot Biobanks” discusses the possibilities.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

We believe Home Sampling has a key role to play in helping health authorities, healthcare providers and researchers to perform serological tests for efficient studies and diagnostics. Capitainer has been used by many customers with different analysis platforms.

Capitainer®qDBS is used for Covid-19 antibody diagnostics with various analytical platforms. Published data supports that antibodies are stable for several weeks at room temperature in DBS. Our quantitative qDBS system enables accurate antibody titer measurement from home sampling.

Different ELISA setups, the Luminex platform for multivariate analysis and functionality with Roche cobas system has been shown in scientific publications. In addition, proteomic profiling has been performed with the Olink platform. Below are some highlights on how Capitainer has been used by others to facilitate Covid-19 laboratory analysis.

Capitainer®qDBS has been used with thousands of inhabitants in the Swedish region Västerbotten. Being a sparsely populated region, where many inhabitants have a long distance to the phlebotomist, sampling at home offered improved medical service to the inhabitants. The application proved the usability of Capitainer sampling in broad usage for everyone.

In November 2021 ABC labs announced that they start to provide laboratory service for home sampling with Capitainer and quantitative Covid-19 antibody testing. If you are interested in using their service to provide testing with the help of an established laboratory, get in contact info@stratech.co.uk

In the spring of 2021 The Public Health Agency of Sweden performed a nationwide population study on antibodies towards Covid-19. According to participants, self-sampling with Capitainer was expressed as the preferred sampling method, compared to venous blood draws from a phlebotomist

A clear majority preferred sampling at home. Samples were analyses at the laboratory Xerum AB and at arrival to the lab > 95% were correctly sampled. The full study report in Swedish can be read here. We have translated the 4 stated reasons why home sampling with Capitainer was chosen is this study:

  1. In this study, blood sampling is not considered necessary care and we wanted to avoid that the study burdened the regional care.
  2. The participants were distributed over the full geagraphical area of Sweden which complicated the implementation of sampling performed by health care professionals. Some participants also had a geographical distance to their care facility.
  3. Sampling at home is preferable to the study from a contagion perspective
    since potentially infected participants did not have to leave their homes to get to a care facility.
  4. Other types of self-sampling (nose, throat and saliva for PCR testing) at home is a method that in its practical simplicity invites participation and has worked well in our other surveys.

In addition, the report finally states that “The study was conducted successfully and provided a picture of the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the population during weeks 17-18, 2021. The methodology as used worked well and can be applied in similar future antibody follow-ups”

Capitainer samples are compatible with analysis on the Luminex platform. Get inspired on how you can perform a multiparameter study using the multiplex technique from Luminex together with home sampling with Capitainer in the paper “Multianalyte serology in home-sampled blood enables an unbiased assessment of the immune response against SARS-CoV-2

Proteomic profiling using multiplexing techniques from Olink is feasible using Capitainer home sampling approach. Ahead of print, you can read the outcome of the study “Precise blood proteome profiling in an undiagnosed population with COVID-19” to learn more on how Capitainer can be used in proteomics research.

Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S immunoassay (Roche Diagnostics) is used in the publication “Use of Quantitative Dried Blood Spots to Evaluate the Post-Vaccination Level of Neutralizing Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2” to prove the concept of population-wide analysis of COVID-19 from blood specimens collected outside a hospital setting. Due to the larger sample volume required on most standard chemistry analyzers, especially with regard to the dead volume, there will always be a dilution factor to account for in this laboratory setup.

Blood microsampling – At a location of your choice.

Patients can collect high quality blood samples themselves in a location that is convenient to them. The samples are then sent to the laboratory for analysis through the regular mail.  This is enabled by Capitainer´s new disposable sampling chip that automatically meters and stores an exact blood volume.

We’ve developed a microfluidsystem based technology that offers a solution for Self Sampling.

Capitainer®qDBS uses a combination of paper and polymer microfluidics to meter a 10 µl fixed volume from an undefined volume of finger prick blood. After applying a drop of blood to the inlet, a metering channel in the device is automatically filled. A valve composed of a thin dissolvable membrane then opens up and removes excessive blood at the inlet. Subsequently, a second membrane opens up, allowing for transfer of the metered blood volume onto the sample collection disk. The sample is allowed to dry forming a high quality DBS sample suitable for quantitative analysis.

The metering mechanism employing thin dissolvable films was first demonstrated by G. Lenk et al 

Manual Pipetting of Blood vs Capitainer®qDBS Collection
Experiment

  • EDTA-blood was collected from a coffee drinker by venous puncture
  • 25 µL of blood was applied to 20 Capitainer®qDBS channels
  • For reference 10 µL of blood was applied by manual displacement pipetting to 20 discs removed from Capitainer®qDBS devices
  • Caffeine concentration was measured in all samples by an accredited LC-MS/MS method

Result

  • Caffeine concentration coefficient of variation for Capitainer®qDBS 2,84% vs 6,25% for manual pipetting

Source: Evaluation study by Dr Olof Beck, Analysis of caffeine by LC-MS/MS method. 2020 March 16

Source: Evaluation study by Dr Olof Beck, Analysis of caffeine by LC-MS/MS method. 2020 March 16

Similar results were obtained in a study by Spooner et al

FAQ's

Can I use the Capitainer®qDBS outside the specified HCT range (25-55 %)?

The product is not verified to be used outside the specified range. Hence, we cannot guarantee correct product performance in these circumstances.

Can I use freeze-dried blood?

No, the product is not specified for this, and it may affect the performance of the Capitainer®qDBS.

How can I access the sample from the Capitainer®qDBS?

The sample is collected on an Ahlstrom 222 paper disc. This can be accessed from the reverse side of the card, either with tweezers or by our semi automated Capitainer puncher.

Why is the extract from Capitainers®qDBS blue?

The blue color is Patent Blue, which is used in the Polyvinylalcohol (PVOH) membranes that enable the metering function of the sampling card. If you are using LC-MS as your method of analysis, the PVOH and patent blue will give a signal early in the mass chromatogram and possibly contribute to the other matrix effects that will have to be corrected for. These components will not contaminate your MS instrument.

Can I pipette venous blood on the Capitainer®qDBS?

As Capitainer®qDBS is designed for use with blood derived from finger-pricking, i.e. using fresh blood, there are some aspects to consider if you do your validation experiments with control venous blood and pipetting in the lab.

  • Do not use blood older than three days. This must be stored in the refrigerator and allowed to come to room temperature before using it on the cards.
  • All blood samples should be well mixed gently using a rocker, prior to application to the card.
  • If you use a syringe dispenser, you should make sure to apply blood to the cards within 5 minutes from the last mixing.
  • Lyophilized blood products may not work.

What applications can be run with the Capitainer® device?

In general most applications that can be run with traditional DBS.

How can I ship the Capitainer®qDBS device?

The system is designed to be shipped in the breathable paper pouch provided in the Capitainer® Kit. The customer is responsible for confirming their own shipping methods and shipping conditions.

For how long can I store the sampled paper disc?

Storage times depend on storage conditions and the determined stability for each analyte. For guidance, please refer to existing reference material for DBS samples, examples of which are included in the links below.

Stability of Proteins in Dried Blood Spot Biobanks

Dried blood spots: Effects of less than optimal collection, shipping time, heat, and humidity

I have failed with the sampling...

Please contact your test provider.

I'm not sure how to use the device.

Please follow the included instructions, if still not sure then contact your test provider.

How do I know my sampling was successful?

Please check the outlet window for color change as described in the included instructions.

I have pricked my finger but there is no blood.

Warm hands, stand up, shake your hands and use the spare lancet.

Sampling quantitative blood at home? Yes it is possible!

Contact Us Self-sampling has gained significant interest over the past decade, accelerated in recent years by the Covid-19 pandemic. Clinical Read More...

A New Gold Standard in PEth Testing

Contact Us Phosphatidylethanol, mostly referred to as PEth, is a phospholipid biomarker of long-term alcohol consumption. PEth exists naturally in Read More...

Global CRO Altasciences Evaluates Capitainer®qDBS Microsampling

Contact Us Conventional dried blood spot testing (DBS) is a microsampling method that is widely used for qualitative or semi-quantitative Read More...

Quantitative Serology Made Possible With Capitainer®qDBS

Contact Us Dried blood spot testing is a microsampling method that has been utilised for qualitative or semi-quantitative analysis of Read More...

Dried Blood Spot Microsampling in Screening and Monitoring of PKU

Contact Us Since the 1960s, the use of dried blood spot (DBS) technology for newborn screening (NBS) and monitoring of Read More...

Dried Blood Spot Testing – Part 1

Contact Us Welcome to our blog series about dried blood spot (DBS) testing, a microsampling method that is widely used Read More...