Lateral Flow Assays for Sickle Cell Disease

January 02, 2023


Sickle cell disease affects over 250 million people worldwide. It is a multifaceted disease characterized by chronic hemolytic anemia, unpredictable episodes of pain, and widespread organ damage (Reviewed in Kato et al. 2018) and can be hereditarily passed on from an infected parent to a child. Early detection is key to improving the quality of life of those affected and help reduce the number of children affected.

The long-term availability of reliable antibodies for point-of-care tests is among the biggest challenges for diagnostic companies. Rockland’s scalable in-house manufacturing capabilities make us a reliable partner for the supply of these critical reagents to the industry.


Sickle Cell Disease Screening Using Rockland Lateral Flow Antibodies

Lateral flow assays can be used to diagnose and monitor the severity of hemoglobin disorders by testing blood samples for markers such as hemoglobin beta S. They are simple and portable point-of-care screening tools that can help identify disease before the onset of symptoms so that treatment regimens can be set. Recently, two scientific papers were published highlighting lateral flow assays as diagnostic tools for the detection of sickle cell anemia in low to middle-income countries (LMICs)2,3. Both publications rely on Rockland's hemoglobin antibodies (200-301-GS4 and 200-301-GS5) to provide scalable and cost-effective solutions requiring only a single drop of whole blood as the sample. Rockland's antibodies can be used to rapidly detect various diseases within the same lateral flow assay:

Lateral Flow Assays for Sickle Cell Disease

Figure: Example layout for a lateral flow assay with 3 indicators to detect different states of sickle cell disease.


Sickle Cell Disease Antibodies

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

With the support of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Rockland has successfully developed a set of antibodies for the detection of hemoglobin variants. These antibodies have been designed for use in lateral flow assays and are suitable for a wide range of immunological applications.


Product Item No. Reactivity LFA Function Applications
Hemoglobin Antibody 200-301-MV4 Human Detection LFA, WB, ELISA
Hemoglobin A (beta chain) Antibody 200-301-GS4 Human Capture LFA, WB, ELISA, FC
Hemoglobin beta A-2 Antibody 200-301-GS8 Human N/A LFA, WB, ELISA
Hemoglobin beta C Antibody 200-301-GS7 Human Capture LFA, WB, ELISA
Hemoglobin beta F Antibody 200-301-GS6 Human N/A LFA, WB, ELISA
Hemoglobin beta S Antibody 200-301-GS5 Human Capture LFA, WB, ELISA, FC


Sickle Cell Disease Peptides

Product Item No. Synonyms
Hemoglobin A (beta chain) Control Peptide 000-001-GS4 Hbβ Control Peptide, Hemoglobin beta subunit, HBB
Hemoglobin A-2 Control Peptide 000-001-GS8 HbA-2 Control Peptide, Hemoglobin Subunit Delta, Hemoglobin Delta Chain 4, Delta-Globin 4, HbD
Hemoglobin C Control Peptide 000-001-GS7 HbC Control Peptide, Hemoglobin beta subunit C variant, HbBc, HbC
Hemoglobin F Control Peptide 000-001-GS6 HbF Control Peptide, Hemoglobin delta subunit, HBG1, HBG2
Hemoglobin S Control Peptide 000-001-GS5 HbS Control Peptide, Hemoglobin beta subunit sickle mutant, HBS, HBBs


Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease (SCD), thalassemias, and other hemoglobinopathies occur when aberrant forms of hemoglobin are expressed in humans. Hemoglobin functions as the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells and gives blood its characteristic color. Functional adult hemoglobin (HbA) is a heterotetramer composed of 2 α-globin and 2 β-globin protein subunits. Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation in the β-globin subunit encoded by the HBB gene that leads to the production of abnormal hemoglobin, known as hemoglobin beta S (HbS). 


Common Hemoglobin Variants


Functional adult hemoglobin (HbA) is a heterotetramer composed of 2 α-globin and 2 β-globin subunits.


Hemoglobin A-2 (HbA-2) is a normal but minor variant of hemoglobin A. HbA-2 may be increased in beta thalassemia or in people who are heterozygous for beta thalassemia. HbA-2 exists in small amounts in all adults (1.5-3.1% of all hemoglobin molecules) and is increased in people with sickle cell disease.


Less significant than the E6V mutation (HbS allele), HbC E6K causes a mild hemolytic anemia.


Fetal hemoglobin (HbF) is a heterotetramer composed of 2 α-globin and 2 γ-globin subunits. Hemoglobin F is elevated in newborns, reaching adult levels by 12 months. HbF levels are increased to as much as 5% to 10% in normal pregnancy.


The E6V mutant is the predominant hemoglobin in people with sickle cell disease (HbS allele). The α-globin subunits are normal while the disease-producing mutation exists in the HBB gene. People who have one sickle mutant gene and one normal β-globin gene carry the sickle cell trait (HbAS) but do not develop SCD.