Explained: How samples are collected, packaged and transported for SARS-CoV-2 testing

К : Explanatory table |

Update : 19. April 2020 10:47:34


This plastic container is placed in a thermal chamber, refrigerator or rigid box insulated with frozen gel packs.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) have issued guidelines for the collection, packaging and transportation of SARS CoV-2 test samples that apply to all health authorities and hospitals in the country.

It is essential that doctors or health professionals keep this in mind when handling samples, as they may be dealing with infectious material. The use of personal protective equipment and respect for hand hygiene also apply to sampling.

How are samples collected and transported?

Nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs are collected with Dacron or polyester swabs and transported to the laboratory at 4 degrees Celsius. If the test is carried out in five ways, the sample can be stored at 4 degrees Celsius, but if the test is carried out more than five days later, the sample must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius.

If nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal samples are collected, both swabs should be stored in the same tube to increase viral load. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also states that in patients from whom nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs are collected, the swabs should be mixed in a single tube to maximise the sensitivity of the test by increasing the viral load, thus limiting the use of the test agents.

It is also important that the caregiver wears PPE when taking samples and observes all biosafety measures. After sampling, a physician or health care professional should place the sample in sterile vials of a viral transport medium (VTM) and seal the neck of the vials with paraffin. CVDs are commercially prepared and can also be prepared on site.

The sample vials are then covered with absorbent material and placed in a secondary container. This mechanism is then placed in a sealed container, such as a zipper bag, cryobox, 50 ml centrifuge tube or plastic container, which is then transferred to a plastic container with a closed neck.

This plastic container is then placed in a thermobox, refrigerator or hard box insulated with frozen gel packs. The documents must be sent with the sample to the laboratory where the tests are carried out.

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