Guidelines on How to Handle Samples for COVID 19 Collection Kits

There is no doubt that the coronavirus has rocked the world to its core, forcing some form of shutdown in almost every country in the globe. Until a vaccine is found, there is a very minimal likelihood of anything changing, and everyone should follow the set-out guidelines by the relevant bodies including the FDA and CDC on how to keep themselves safe and healthy. The people in charge of testing and handling COVID-19 collection kits also have their own guidelines to ensure that testing and everything else happens seamlessly.

Standard Precautions

Standard Precautions are the minimum infection prevention practices that are applied to patient care, regardless of whether their infection status is suspected or confirmed. These precautions apply in any setting where patient care is practised. They are grounded on the principle that there is a risk of disease transmission from any interaction with infectious material, patient or patient sample. Standard Precautions include hand hygiene and use of PPE in addition to practices to ensure respiratory health, sharps safety, safe injection practices, and effective management of sterilization and disinfection for the equipment. The exact implementation of Standard Precautions varies from place to place and should be determined by an activity-specific risk assessment.

Risk Assessment by Laboratories

For any labs that will be conducting tests and handling specimen, a risk assessment that is both site and activity-specific should be performed to determine if the enhanced bio-safety precautions are reasonable based on situational needs, for example, high testing volumes, and the likelihood to generate infectious droplets and aerosols. Risk assessments and mitigation measures depend on the procedures that have been performed, identification of the hazards which are involved in the process and/or procedures, the competency levels of the personnel who are in charge of implementing the systems, the laboratory equipment and facility, and lastly the resources available.

Recommended Disinfectants for Use in Decontamination

It is widely known that only particular disinfectants are useful in combating the virus. Work surfaces should be decontaminated with the appropriate disinfectants. Personnel should use EPA-registered hospital disinfectants with label claims to be effective against SARS-CoV- 2. When it comes to matters such as dilution, safe handling, contact time and appropriate quantities, manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed to the letter.

Proper Storage for The Specimen

Any COVID-19 collection kits containing a specimen from suspected patients should be stored as per the recommended guidelines. That is 2-8°C for up to seventy-two hours after collection. If there were any delays during the extraction process, the specimen should be stored at -70°C or lower. The same temperature ranges apply for extracted nucleic acid samples.

Handling of Biohazardous Waste from The Lab or Testing Areas

Any laboratory waste that has come from testing suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient specimens can be handled in the same way as all other biohazardous waste found in the laboratory. At the moment, there isn’t any evidence that could suggest that this laboratory waste needs any special or additional packaging or disinfection procedures.