Inadequate or inappropriate patient specimen collection, storage, and transport are likely to impact specimen quality and yield false test results. Therefore, training in specimen handling is highly recommended and there is a critical need for tight environmental uniformity to ensure specimen viability. In this article, PHCbi shares the recommendations for collecting, transporting, and storing COVID-19 specimens and the solutions on offer to ensure control and quality, at every step of the specimen processing workflow.
1. The virus swab:
Samples from the patients are taken and then stored in a -80°C or lower freezer, such as the VIP ECO natural refrigerant freezers.
2. The genetic extraction:
The RNA from the viral specimen is extracted and then delicately archived in the ultimate sample storage at -80°C or lower freezer, such as the TwinGuard Series of ULT freezers.
3. The amplification:
Test kits are used to amplify genetic material for detection. These kits contain enzymes, DNA PCR primers, and buffers. PCR primers and probes are then stored accordingly as follows:
4. The result:
The amplified cDNA is now ready for detection. The PCR test sample is then stored at -80°C in a freezer such as one from the TwinGuard Series.
Solutions for every step of the diagnostic workflow (L-R):
1. VIP ECO natural refrigerant freezer;
2. TwinGuard ULT freezer;
3. MDF-DU300H, MDF-MU339H, and MPR-S300H freezers.
It is also recommended that you refer to the CDC's "Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019", which can be accessed here. A summary of the top tips for collection, transportation, and storage of COVID-19 patient specimens can be found below: