A term used in blood donor testing to describe the process of resolving a reactive nucleic acid test (NAT) performed on multiple donors at the same time (a “pooled” or “mini-pooled” sample). Blood donor nucleic acid testing, to maximize efficiency, is performed using samples from multiple donors combined (“pooled”) into one testing sample. If the testing is negative on the pool, all donors are considered negative for that test. If the pool sample is positive, however, we must figure out which donor caused the pool to have a positive test. During deconstruction, the laboratory either tests all donors in the minipool individually or, in the case of larger minipools, tests pools from a smaller number of donors. Deconstruction is required for positive pooled samples, and it applies to NAT used for HIV, HBV, HCV, and West Nile Virus detection.
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