We use the Full Blood Count test to predict infectious disease outbreaks and for earlier diagnosis of non-infectious conditions.
What is a Full Blood Count?
The Full Blood Count (FBC) is an essential test used to inform medical decision-making. It is the world’s most common medical laboratory test - being performed an estimated 3.6 billion times per year.
Global FBC testing. Numbers represent millions of tests, coloured bars represent the proportion of tests performed in primary (green) and secondary (orange) healthcare settings.
During the 30-second FBC test, an automated machine called a haematology analyser is used to measure the characteristics of the seven main blood cell types.
In short, the cells in the blood sample are dye-stained and then laser-illuminated one-by-one from different angles - the scatter pattern of each laser is then used to identify the type of cell, for example a Red Blood Cell, and count it!
Despite the wide-scale use of the test, results are generally interpreted on a case-by-case basis instead of being compared to all other samples in a population. Additionally, once high-level results such as Red Cell Count are calculated, data from the many thousands of laser measurements performed during the test are generally discarded!