We report the development of system for packaging critical components of the traditional collection kit to make an integrated fingerstick blood collector for self-collecting blood samples of 100 μl or more for radiation countermeasures. A miniaturized vacuum tube system (VacuStor system) has been developed to facilitate liquid reagent storage, simple operation and reduced sample contamination. Vacuum shelf life of the VacuStor tube has been analyzed by the ideal gas law and gas permeation theory, and multiple ways to extend vacuum shelf life beyond one year have been demonstrated, including low temperature storage, Parylene barrier coating and container vacuum bag sealing. Self-collection was also demonstrated by healthy donors without any previous fingerstick collection experience. The collected blood samples showed similar behavior in terms of gene expression and cytogenetic biodosimetry assays comparing to the traditionally collected samples. The integrated collector may alleviate the sample collection bottleneck for radiation countermeasures following a large-scale nuclear event, and may be useful in other applications with its self-collection and liquid reagent sample preprocessing capabilities.
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