• blood groups;
  • kodecytes;
  • MUT+Mur;
  • RBC antigens and antibodies;
  • South-East Asia;
  • vMNS

Background and Objectives  Appropriate screening for irregular red-cell antibodies is essential for ensuring transfusion compatibility and for antenatal management of mothers at risk of haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn. Screening for all relevant antibodies is, however, limited by screening cells that do not express antigens present in the patient and donor population. Technology to artificially incorporate antigens into red cells is currently available and may be an option for customizing screening cells.

Materials and Methods  We sought to identify retrospectively the changing patterns of alloantibody prevalence in our multiethnic population on change of screening cells. Antibody screening records of 143 501 patients tested from 2004 to 2010 were retrieved and divided into two groups: period-1 (2004–2008) and period-2 (2009–2010). During period-1, standard screening cells were used while in period-2, MUT+Mur+ KODE transformed red cells (kodecytes) were used.

Results  Four per cent of samples tested during period-2 were positive on antibody screening compared to 3·2% in period-1. Specific antibodies, excluding anti-D, were identified in 1·66% and 1·52% of patients in period-2 and -1, respectively. When confined to antibodies of clinical significance only, period-2 showed higher alloantibody prevalence of 1·16% as compared to 0·66% in period-1. Antibodies to glycophorin variants of MNS (vMNS) were more commonly detected while antibodies to Lewis antigens declined during period-2.

Conclusion  Antibodies to vMNS antigens are common in South and East Asian populations and are often missed when using standard screening cells. Use of specifically engineered screening cells to express red-cell antigens artificially is beneficial in detecting the diverse alloantibodies present in our population.