COVID-19, the new strain of the virus that has spread worldwide, has left medical facilities tapped out and resources scarce. The University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth has stepped in to help. Professor Michail Kastellorizios, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences, is leading the development of Viral Transport Media (VTM), a vital component of COVID-19 testing. The University recently produced 350 VTM tubes in as little as two hours in their Sterile Compounding Lab in the interdisciplinary research and education building.
Designed to preserve the viability of collected samples, VTM has evolved over the years to meet the needs of laboratories worldwide. Originally formulated for culture preservation, VTM was later modified to meet the requirements of nucleic acid-based tests. Commonly used components include fetal bovine serum (FBS), Hanks' Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS), phenol red, and antibiotics. The composition of VTM can be customized to accommodate sample collection devices and freezing/thawing cycles.
Commercial FBS comes in two forms: heat-inactivated and non-inactivated. The former is preferred for the purpose of VTM preparations since it eliminates the presence of complement proteins, which can inadvertently eradicate foreign organisms. However, there are some researchers who believe that these factors are negligible. In the event of contamination, VTM is prepared using antibiotics and fungi, which are capable of degrading DNA.
When VTM is ready for clinical use, it must be labeled and paired with NP collection swabs to avoid contamination. Depending on the type of testing, the test can be performed on multiple specimens. The method also requires collaboration between personnel in the laboratory and outside organizations. For example, the materials management and distribution department has to make sure that the VTM tubes are matched properly to NP collection swabs and are ready for release to patients.
The production of VTM kit requires a high level of hygiene and safety. Several factors should be considered to ensure the quality of the VTM. For instance, the temperature should be at least 4degC to ensure that the test is accurate. Keeping the liquid media free of fungi and bacteria will help minimize the risk of contamination. After the sample is collected, the test can be used for diagnostic purposes. Moreover, the laboratory must monitor the safety of the samples.
Once the bacteria and yeast are diluted to 10-3 CFU, the VTM will be incubated in the laboratory for three days. After incubating, the VTM is plated onto the HBA and the results will be compared. During this time, the culture of these organisms will be confirmed. If the yeast or bacteria do not grow, the inoculum is not viable. This will require the use of a different biosafety cabinet.
Viral specimen transport requires careful preparation and proper media selection. In the case of a coronavirus outbreak, this is of particular importance. These samples must be preserved to avoid contamination and to ensure their viability during subsequent laboratory analyses. For this reason, the selection of the appropriate media is essential. Puritan is a leading provider of specialized and safe transport solutions. Its range of products includes filters, swabs, tubes, and containers.
The Teknova Active Viral Transport Medium is a proprietary, room-temperature medium for the transport of viral specimens. It preserves the integrity of the sample for 72 hours and complies with the US Food and Drug Administration COVID-19 Transport Media Policy. Its compatibility with molecular and antigen assays enables it to be used for a wide variety of diagnostic applications. The Teknova Active Viral Transportation Medium is also FDA-approved and CE-marked.
The use of commercial Virocult(r) is the recommended method for the transport of viral specimens. This device is FDA-approved and CE-marked. Injection-molded caps guarantee a precision fit and eliminate the possibility of foreign adhesives. They have a round bottom polypropylene resin tube and may accommodate flocked, cotton, rayon, or polyester swabs. It is also available in disposable formats.
Viral transport media should be used to transfer specimens. These media should be sterilized and contain adequate pH levels for optimal viability. Ideally, a solution should have a pH of 7.0 and be suitable for the specific virus. However, this should not be the only factor in the selection of the transport media. If the culture medium is inadequate, the virus may not survive, and a new culture may be necessary. This is the only way to confirm the identity of a viral strain.
The viral specimen transport media should be sterile and non-propagating. This media should maintain the integrity of the samples until the final stage of the laboratory analysis. It should be stored in a refrigerator at a constant temperature. In the event of a laboratory infection, the samples should be transported immediately to a lab for further testing. Infections can be fatal if the samples are not cultured in the laboratory. The process of diagnosis is a delicate and critical procedure.
A proper transport media is required for the proper handling of viral specimens. The medium should be pH neutral and non-propagating. If the sample is contaminated by bacteria or fungi, it should be handled carefully. There are many ways to protect the samples from contamination. One of the best methods is to avoid using swabs with toxic properties. This can lead to contamination. If the test is negative, the virus may be able to reproduce itself in the sample.
The media for viral specimen transport is an essential component of the culture medium. It is vital for the sample's viability during the transport process. These tubes are specially designed for this purpose and can be either dry or wet. Both types of media have similar advantages. Whether they are wet or dry, they will maintain the viability of the viral samples. In the case of bacterial culture, the saline medium is recommended.