Transport media are specialized media that are designed to protect a specimen and mitigate bacteria growth from the time it is collected until it arrives at the laboratories to be analyzed. Transport media can depend upon the type of species detected in the sample. However, transport media are generally categorized due to its physical state as semi – solid or liquid, as well as their functionality as bacterial or viral transport media. To avoid microbial replication, transport media contain only additives and salt and no nutritional components such as carbon, nitrogen, or organic cell proliferation. Vaccinations and other chemicals, such as glycerol, can be added to transport samples for cultured cells.

Only sterile VTM systems can be used to move clinical samples to prevent incorporating microbiological load into the specimen. According to the FDA’s guidelines, the virulence of transport media should be adequately checked and/or checked prior to delivery, including process sterilization confirmation and validation that the device stays sterile in its package when stored in compliance with the labelled storage conditions and for the period of the stated shelf life.

What exactly is Viral transport medium VTM:

Viral Transport Medium (VTM) enables the secure transmission of viruses, chlamydia, and mycoplasma for further study, such as traditional cell culture techniques, medical imaging, and molecular genetics techniques. Currently accessible viral transport media comes in a screw cap capillary tube with buffered protein (serum, albumin, or gelatin) and antibiotics. Antibiotics are typically added to viral transport media to prevent the growth of infecting bacteria and viruses, so different samples from the same location should be obtained if bacterial or fungal samples are also needed. Our Viral Transport Medium includes high – temperature Fetal Bovine Plasma, Gentamicin, and Amphotericin B and is focused on Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS) with Magnesium and Calcium. The Viral Transport Medium’s formulation and production adhere to WHO and CDC guidelines.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s unexpected arrival put considerable strain on distribution networks, including viral transport medium (VTM). The VTM that’s been desperately needed had to help cell growth as well as other standard diagnostic methods. We explain the preparations and verification testing of VTM for rapidly expanding medical tests, where the VTM’s ability to retain viral credibility for culture, replication, and complete gene sequencing was preserved.

Methods:

VTM was sterilized in various ways before being ‘spiked’ with virus. The VTM was studied using viral culture in Vero cells and quantitative PCR for nucleotide identification.

Results

Filter and autoclave forced sterilisation produced the best results. The VTM performed well in culture-based tests when the immunized VTM was stored at 4 °C and checked within 48 hours. Whenever the mock immunized VTM was kept at ambient temperature, the filtered VTM also assisted PCR-based evaluation for at least five days.

Deliberation

The work equipment of VTM output was streamlined, including loading and sterilization. SARS-CoV-2 was spiked into VTM to evaluate various sterilization approaches as well as the results of storage temperature on VTM efficiency. While most testing protocols would not involve replication competent virus, the use of top quality VTM would allow for the next step of research laboratories in the COVID-19 disease outbreak, namely drug and antibodies vulnerability analysis of re-isolated SARS-CoV-2 and vaccine release mutation testing.

Do the policies outlined in the COVID-19 Transport Media Policy apply to all types of transport media?

No, the guidelines described in the COVID-19 Transport Media Policy only refer to specific transport media instruments which can be used to carry clinical specimens examined by molecular or antigen serological tests for use during the COVID-19 national emergency. This involves sterile VTM which have been engineered and validated in accordance with the most recent edition of the CDC’s SOP for both the Treatment of Viral Transport Media, and also sterile PBS/saline transport media.

As outlined in the guidelines, these measures are only planned to be in place for the period of the COVID national emergency declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 31, 2020, effective January 27, 2020, also including other renewals made by the HHS Secretary

Does Transport medium need to be sterile when used with COVID-19 molecular or antigen assays?

Only VTM tools marked as sterile must be used for the transport of clinical samples, as stated in the COVID-19 Transport Media Policy, to avoid possible bacterial spoilage into the specimen. According to the FDA’s guidelines, the virulence of transport media must be adequately checked and/or checked prior to delivery, including process sterilization confirmation and validation that the device stays sterile in its package when stored in compliance with the labelled storage temperature and for the period of the stated shelf life.

What is Molecular Transport Media?

MTM (molecular transport media) was designed exclusively to completely remove bacterial samples while maintaining and sustaining the extracted DNA and RNA. MTM’s guanidine thiocyanate removes a virus’s defensive viral coating (the capsid), making it unable of re – infection while preserving viral nucleic acids for disease diagnosis, sampling, and health care needs. Because of its superior efficiency and shorter processing times as opposed to conventional microbiology research, molecular testing is now widely used. The majority of currently accepted COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 virus) as well as other infection control studies are nucleic acid-based biochemical assays, As a result, the need for the risk from live bacterium transportation for extensive monitoring is eliminated.

MTM is a distinctive sensor module for safely accumulating samples of patients with extremely viral infections. It was designed especially for molecular application areas such as qPCR and next generation technology. It was first seen in research for several contagious diseases and high risk pathogens, including influenza, RSV, TB, HIV, and coronavirus, in 2006 in anticipation for a global pandemic and it is being already used in testing for many infectious and contagious diseases and high consequence pathogens, namely influenza, RSV, TB, HIV and coronavirus.

What is the difference between standard Viral and Molecular Transport Media? MTM vs. VTM:

The primary distinction between MTM and VTM is that molecular transport media can fully disable viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mycobacterium tuberculosis, allowing for healthy sample handling and transport and significantly lowering infection risk. In reality, this novel FDA cleared and CE IVD marked infectious disease sample collection, storage, and transport device was designed specifically to address the deficiencies of standard viral transport media (VTM) and universal transport media (UTM). This may not destroy bacteria and can also interfere with molecular research.

Advantages of MTM over VTM and UTM

From the standpoints of protection, dependability, and expense, MTM is regarded as a true game changer in the sampling and transport of pathogenic samples. Since regular UTM and VTM media were built for carrying intact viable microbial samples for culture, there still is hazardous material that necessitates subsequent laboratory work in a regulated setting. Furthermore, since the samples are alive, they must be stored and transported in a cold chain. These normal transport media can also contain enzymes and nucleases that are harmful to RNA and DNA, preventing optimum molecular testing, such as PCR. Modern molecular experiments, on the other hand, do not include viable viruses, but only intact microbial nucleic acids.

Another significant advantage of MTM is that a sample can be comfortably kept at room temperature for up to seven days or 28 days at 2 to 8°C and reused several times. This reduces the dangers of processing live pathogenic samples while also lowering costs by minimising the need for a cold chain and, as previously discussed, the need for Category 3 facilities and research will take place outside of containment.

Combined COVID-19 and flu testing

It is obvious that a robust monitoring protocol is needed in preparation for flu season and a possible second wave of COVID-19, when thousands of patients will begin presenting with symptoms that may be flu or coronavirus. MTM is suitable for the upcoming flu season because it can process multiple infectious disease samples from a single sample swab. This is because samples obtained and processed in MTM can be screened for both COVID-19 and influenza from a single inactivated and stabilised swab sample. This, combined with the fact that refrigerated transport and storage are not needed, will aid in disease separation at a lower cost than regular collection kits.

MTM, a novel, proprietary sample collection system, allows COVID-19 samples to be inactivated in the collection tube quickly. This reduces the possibility of contamination while still preserving nucleic acids for downstream molecular processing without the need for refrigeration. MTM perfectly preserves RNA and DNA for up to four weeks, eliminating the need for costly cold chain transport and preservation of samples. This ensures that it is automatically available for secure testing upon arrival at a laboratory and does not require containment. In the case of COVID-19, this expands the number of testing laboratories’ choices, rendering this instrument a critical component of the testing supply chain that can underpin the capacity.

During the coronavirus pandemic, a range of companies used MTM to offer COVID-19 monitoring facilities to their employees. This allows us to get out others that may be self-isolating due to infection or the illness of a family member. The ability for laboratories to screen for both COVID-19 and influenza from a single sample would also be extremely useful as flu season progresses.

Universal transport medium composition

UTM, or Universal Transport Medium, is a cryogenic temperatures secure viral transport medium used for virus identification, transport, repair, and long-term freeze preservation, such as flu H1N1, Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, and Urea plasma specimens. UTM has been extensively used in Rapid Antigen Testing, DFA, Viral Culture, and Molecular-based Assays.

UTM is an FDA-cleared processing and transport facility that can be used to obtain, transport, maintain, and store useful empirical containing viruses such as COVID-19, chlamydia, mycoplasma, or ureaplasma species. The delivery medium is packaged in a plastic screw cap tube which can keep organisms alive for 48 hours at room temperature.

Room Temperature, Reliable and Proven are UTM!

  • The different temperature stable method keeps species alive for up to 48 hours and does not involve refrigeration processing prior to collection.
  • UTM has been thoroughly tested and checked in accordance with CLSI M40-A2: Microbiological Transport System Consistency Control Standard
  • UTM has shown to be effective in Rapid Antigen Testing, DFA, Viral Culture, and Molecular-Based Assays. Antibiotics are used in the media formulation to prevent bacterial and fungal growth while not harming viruses, chlamydia, mycoplasma, or ureaplasma.
  • The speed at which virus particles are released and dispersed in UTM is astounding.
  • During vortexing, three glass beads in each tube aid in the mixing and dispersion of patient sample content as well as the release of virus particles from the swab.
  • A phenol red pH signal gives a visual indication of the medium’s integrity during the product’s storage and life.

Benefits of Universal Transport Medium

  • Versatile medium that can be used for a variety of samples, microorganisms, and diagnostic procedures.
  • Prevents the sample from drying out.
  • Increases the survival of microorganisms during aggregation and inoculation.
  • Reduces the proliferation of bacteria in infected samples.
  • Swabs that are easily broken.
  • Suitable for PCR analysis of samples
  • Viability at room temperature.
  • Customized approach available in a variety of formats.
  • Simple and safe to use, lowering the chance of pollution.

So, this article aimed at acquainting you well with the various transport mediums and their individual benefits. We have also shown a difference between the major transport mediums. I hope this made justice to your queries and confusion and you are sorted with your chaos. If you are still left with some questions, we are always here to help you. And we are open for all the suggestions every time. Always remember it is never too late or too early to start something new and learn new things in your life.