This review covers the wide range of different methods that have been used for the microanalysis of dried blood spots (DBS) from the ones reported in 1914 to the sophisticated processes used, for example, in newborn screening, new drug discovery research and application of PCR based DNA studies of HIV in countries with limited infrastructure. The value of the dried blood spot as a sampling tool and the many advantages it offers in combination with suitable analytical methods is discussed. Current developments in both automating the DBS extraction process and the potential for direct analysis of the sample without prior extraction are reviewed. Possible future directions in the analytical methods used for DBS samples are also highlighted.
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