A method and apparatus for characterizing the type of a blood sample are provided wherein an optical density spectrum of the sample is collected over a predetermined wavelength range. A reference optical density spectrum is collected over a predetermined wavelength range for a portion of the blood sample diluted in saline. Another portion of the blood sample is then mixed with an antibody corresponding to a known blood type (e.g., anti-A, anti-B, anti-D antibody). The optical density spectrum is then collected over a predetermined wavelength range for blood diluted with saline and each antibody in saline. The slopes are then calculated over a predetermined wavelength range for each spectrum. A numerical indicator of agglutination is then calculated by dividing the slope of each antibody-treated sample by the slope of the sample in saline. The resulting number is multiplied by 100. The agglutination index (AI) is arrived at by subtracting this number from 100 so that the magnitude of the AI is a reflection of the degree of agglutination of the sample. A high index value indicates large agglutination (i.e., strong interaction with antibody). Blood type is determined by comparing the AI to a predetermined empirical cutoff value. Typically cutoff values greater than 17 indicate type-specific interaction (type AB samples yield AI values over 17 with both anti-A and anti-B antibodies, while type O samples yield AI values less than 17 with both anti-A and anti-B antibodies).
Garcia-Rubio, Luis Humberto; Narayanan, Smita; Leparc, German; Potter, Robert; and Orton, Sharyn, "Spectrophotometric method and apparatus for blood typing" (2001). USF Patents. 799.
University of South Florida