Shipping guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 specimens were emphasized as many clinical laboratories are not shipping specimens correctly.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Safety Advisory Notice for the transportation of COVID-19 diagnostic samples. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS) notice to clinical laboratory professionals, “This notice was published in response to inspections that revealed COVID-19 diagnostic test samples that were improperly marked or packaged for shipping.”
The CDC DLS announcement was released on July 1, 2020, however, the Safety Advisory Notice was initially issued by the DOT on June 19, 2020.
“Investigators from [the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s] PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS) recently conducted compliance inspections and found several instances of improperly marked or packaged diagnostic samples that were offered for transportation, which included sample vials packaged without rigid outer packagings,” the DOT said in their Safety Advisory Notice. “In response, PHMSA has developed this Safety Advisory Notice to provide information on the [Hazardous Materials Regulations] HMR related to offering and transporting these materials.”
In the Safety Advisory Notice, the DOT provided specific instructions for many of the considerations for packaging, including:
- triple packaging,
- package capability requirements,
- transport by air,
- required markings,
- overpack markings,
- emergency response information, and
- closure instructions.
Clinical laboratories that are shipping SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic specimens can review the detailed instructions in the Safety Advisory Notice here.