Roche assay provides speedy diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency


As vitamin D deficiency prevalence increases, hospitals take testing services in-house with launch of new immunoassay

Amid evidence of an increase in the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among the UK population, Roche has launched a test that is helping hospital labs to improve efficiency and increase workload.

Already tested at hospital laboratories in London and Coventry, the Elecsys Vitamin D Total is an immunoassay for circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D), providing a reliable indication of vitamin D status and ensuring faster turnaround of results.

Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Services has seen a significant increase in the number of vitamin D status test requests over the past five years and has used the Elecsys technology.

“We now perform about 550 vitamin D total assays every week,” said Claudia Tomkins, senior clinical biochemist at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. “Consolidation of the Elecsys Vitamin D Total assay onto our main Roche track system has meant analysis is now fully automated. Random access and rapid assay time has improved turnaround-times, which means results are reported more quickly. Furthermore, increased efficiency and reduced staff time requirements have enabled us to make savings of 18% compared to our previous method.”

The assay has also helped The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) Whitfield Street Laboratory in London to deal with workloads of around 3,000 tests a week.

“We were looking for a precise and reliable assay that is economical to run and correlates well with the ‘gold standard’ LC-MS/MS method,” said Dayan Lloyd-Hennie, joint head of chemistry/autolab. "We have been using the Elecsys Vitamin D Total assay from its launch and it demonstrates improved precision and better lot-to-lot consistency compared to our previous immunoassay. The automation provided by the Roche MODULAR system with MODULAR PRE-ANALYTICS (MPA) is also invaluable. It has improved our turnaround times and is suitable for the clinical demands of the service.”

Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of calcium and other nutrients required for strong healthy bones and it may also be involved in other physiological processes. For most people, the majority of vitamin D required by the body is produced in the skin on exposure to sunlight. It can also be found in certain foods, such as oily fish, red meat and egg yolks, as well as in fortified spreads and cereals. If insufficient levels are synthesised endogenously, dietary supply or supplementation is essential. The Department of Health in the UK currently recommends that all pregnant and breastfeeding women, all babies and young children aged six months to five years, and all people over the age of 65 years should take daily supplements.

Kingston Hospital has been offering a vitamin D testing service for three years and currently performs more than 300 assays every week.

“Our workload has tripled in the last two years,” said principal BMS, William Ellis. “This is largely due to the chronic kidney disease care pathway and screening for vitamin D deficiency, with most of the requests coming from outpatients and general practice.

“Initially, samples were sent away to a referral laboratory, but when our workload escalated, we decided to bring the assay in-house in order to achieve savings and to improve turnaround times. We needed a precise and accurate vitamin D assay that would be fast and easy to perform and which would measure both vitamin D2 and D3.”

The assay is available for both Roche MODULAR and cobas analytical platforms and detects the 25(OH) metabolite of both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 in serum or plasma, ensuring an accurate indication of vitamin D status.

Sign up for your free email newsletter

A Roche spokesman said: “The launch of the Elecsys Vitamin D total assay allows us to offer one of the most complete bone marker assay menus available on a single platform. Together with the Elecsys assays for ß Crosslaps, P1NP, Osteocalcin and PTH, this allows a complete differential diagnosis of bone metabolism in patients at risk of, or having, bone disease.