As COVID-19 spreads, medical researchers continue to search for ways to make the testing methods more accurate and efficient. Currently, the standard type of testing for COVID-19 is PCR testing, which involves the examination of RNA for antigens. This allows medical professionals to detect COVID-19 early on, helping them treat patients and prevent further spread of the illness.
In vitro testing options rely on samples of blood or mucus from the bodies of patients. While these methods are currently labeled under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA thanks to the urgent need for testing and treatment, you may need to overcome supply issues to test high volumes of patients.
These options will provide you with alternatives in the event that a type of swab, media or component becomes unavailable.
Specimen Collection Swabs
Specimen collection swabs play an important role in gathering mucus from patients so doctors can determine whether or not they have COVID-19. In most cases, the doctor swabs the inside of the nose or mouth and then places the swab into a tube or vial for testing.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple types of swabs are suitable for COVID-19 tests, including:
Flocked tapered swabs
Anterior nares swabs
Spun polyester swabs
Round foam swabs
Mercedes Scientific provides testing options that can help you better manage potential COVID-19 patients. For example, we offer the ENI MTM04 Virus Sampling Kit, which comes with both a 10mL transport medium and a nasal flocked swab. Before you choose a swab for your application, it’s important to make sure it is compatible with the platform and the body part being tested.
Specimen Collection Media
When you need safe and sterile transport media for a COVID-19 test, there are a few options you can choose from. These include:
Viral transport media (VTM)
Inactivating transport media
Liquid amies-based media
A normal or phosphate-buffered saline solution
Transport media such as the ENI PSMTM3 PrimeStore® 3mL Vial, ENI PSMTM4 PrimeStore® 4mL Vial, and the ENI PSMTM5 PrimeStore® 5mL Vial can help you move samples safely to their proper location. These vials offer a 1.5ml fill, which makes them ideal for multipurpose applications. These different COVID-19 testing options give you more flexibility, allowing you to provide better testing accuracy for patients.
The FDA has issued a warning for certain types of collection media. Inactivating transport media can be hazardous if handled incorrectly. Some types of PrimeStore® inactivation transport media contain guanidine thiocyanate and similar guanidine chemicals, which react with bleach to create cyanide gas. This is a dangerous reaction that can compromise your safety in the lab, so it’s important to take reasonable precautions before using this inactivating specimen collection media.
Use Your Resources to Conduct Efficient COVID-19 Tests
There are several safe alternatives you can use in PCR testing to achieve high-quality results. The FDA names multiple systems, tools and solutions that can be used to handle patient samples. This ensures that, if a shortage does occur, you can consider alternative options.
Contact us or check the FDA’s list of alternatives for more information on COVID-19 testing options.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Chairman Marco Rubio named Mercedes Scientific of Lakewood Ranch, Florida as the Senate Small Business of the Week. A Paycheck Protection Program loan enabled them to keep their employees paid & continue their crucial work.
Senator Rubio is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and continues the tradition of honoring America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees proposed legislation on matters relating to the Small Business Administration and investigates all problems relating to America’s small businesses.
Mercedes Scientific is partnering with DiaPath this week at the USCAP tradeshow in Los Angeles, CA at the LA Convention Center. Both companies are collaborating to show off equipment in histopathology. DiaPath is an innovative, Italian-based company that focuses on creating a complete, reliable and quality portfolio of instruments, reagents and consumables totally dedicated to anatomic pathology. The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, abbreviated USCAP, is the largest North American organization of pathologists. It is the publisher to two major pathology journals, Laboratory Investigation and Modern Pathology. This is the 109th Annual Meeting, which is expected to attract around 4,500 attendees. The USCAP show is open from February 29 to March 5. Along with 146 exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall, several courses, presentations and lectures are available to attendees. Mercedes Scientific is at booth 935, while DiaPath neighbors at booth 939. Both will be showing off microtomes, cryostats, tissue processors, stainers and embedding centers, as well as educating attendees on key pathology processes perfected with the equipment on display.
The month of March brings the Luck of the Irish – Shamrocks, St. Patti’s Day, Leprechauns… Our first special-themed Henry for 2020 is Leprechaun Henry. He’s greener than a Shamrock Shake, and he’s in very limited quantities. This St. Patti’s Day plush won’t be bringing any pots o’ gold, but he’s sure to bring you luck all year long. He is expected to be out of stock BEFORE March 17th – so get yours before he disappears for good (no restocks on this one). Customers have to spend $99 or more, and request Leprechaun Henry with their orders. If ordering online, requests for Leprechaun Henry (and any other giveaway) can be placed in the Shipping Instructions field during the Checkout process.
Extraneous tissue, commonly known as floaters, in the lab, will never be completely eradicated from our testing practices, but we can take steps to understand where it comes from, and how we can prevent it.
Main sources of floaters include, the grossing bench, the embedding stations, and the microtomy stations. At each station, cleaning is an important factor in prevention of floaters. If forceps aren’t cleaned between each and every specimen, you can get fragments of tissue that carry from one specimen to the next. Similarly, if forceps are not cleaned between cassettes, tissue can get carried from one block to the next. Also be mindful of the wells the forceps are stored in and ensure regular cleaning of these occurs. At the microtomy station, ribbon fragments can get picked up if you’re not cleaning the water bath surface between blocks. Cleaning! Cleaning! Cleaning! It really is super important.
Make sure to use common sense practices in your lab, such as not putting your fingers in the water bath or touching the slide in parts other than the sides. Wearing gloves can also reduce the likelihood of your own cells becoming extraneous tissue.
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