Supporting COVID Test Labs

Ensuring safe storage of samples

Over the last nine months, there has been an unprecedented surge in demand for COVID test labs throughout the UK, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The latest government information is that the target of 500 test sites in the UK has now been reached, with more sites opening every day. In order to deal with the increased testing requirements, healthcare laboratories are having to rapidly train additional personnel and quickly expand the number of refrigerators and freezers that they have for the safe storage of samples – this might even involve establishing entire new premises, within an extremely tight timeframe, such as we have seen with the NHS Nightingale hospitals.

As a manufacturer and provider of continuous temperature monitoring systems for the healthcare industry, Comark has been supporting COVID test labs from the very start of the COVID-19 crisis and throughout the ongoing pandemic, providing temperature mapping kits and UKAS calibration of all devices, as well as the on-site installation of the temperature monitoring equipment in hospitals and dedicated COVID test labs throughout the UK.

Samples that have been taken from anyone suspected of having COVID-19 need to be stored at various temperatures, depending on the nature of the sample and the location where it was taken. In an intensive care unit (ICU) situation for example, the samples will most likely be both blood product and saliva/mucus samples.

Supporting COVID-19 Test Labs with the safe storage of patient samples.

The vast majority of tests that are now routinely carried out for COVID-19, involve taking a swab of the back of the throat and then the nose, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). Those swabs are then placed inside sample bottles containing a transport fluid and sent off to the nearest COVID test labs for processing.

In line with guidance issued by the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any such samples that need to be tested by COVID test labs should be stored at 2-8°C (35.6 to 46.4°F) for up to 72 hours after collection. If there is a delay in testing or shipping than samples should be stored at -70°C (-94°F). It is this requirement for the storage of not only samples but potentially vaccines as well, that has seen the surge in the increase of dedicated refrigerators and freezers that require continuous temperature monitoring.

Comark offers a wealth of temperature monitoring experience with the RF500 Wireless Monitoring Solution is in use in over 50% of NHS Trusts in the UK. This is due to the range of monitoring capabilities, hardware reliability and the overall peace of mind that systems like this bring to what are very high-stress and highly regulated environments. Sensors like the RF516 PT100 Wireless Temperature Transmitter are ideal for precision temperature measurement in sensitive applications and the monitoring of -80°C (-112°F) freezers used for sample and vaccine storage.

If you’d like to find out more about our systems and how they can assist with your particular application please do not hesitate to contact us today!