Over the last several decades, the safety of donated blood has dramatically increased by introducing serological blood donor screening assays for infectious diseases, which has reduced the risk of transmission of infections from donors to recipients.1-3 In particular, increased assay sensitivity, which is a test’s ability to identify an individual with a disease as positive, has dramatically improved and led to earlier, more robust detection of infected donors.
However, increasing sensitivity can often be associated with decreased specificity, the test’s ability to identify donors without disease as negative. This interaction can lead to an increased rate of false-positive test results, which refers to a blood test result indicating the disease is present in a donor when the individual does not have the disease.3,4
If this occurrence continues, blood donation centers may consider using a different screening assay. However, implementing serological assays from a new test provider can be challenging and blood banks need to be aware of the dynamics associated with switching to a new screening test and take unbiased approaches when comparing screening methods.