We conducted a short interview with Shraddha Gautam, Head of Lab Operations, Advancells. In this interview, Shraddha Gautam talks about eliminating the cold chain and providing an advanced viral transport solution with molecular transport medium.
How are COVID-19 sample swabs transported to diagnostics?
After collecting sample swab from the individual, it is placed in a transport medium vial but the method of transportation will have a significant impact on the viral sample RNA integrity and stability. Molecular transport medium (MTM kit) offers the safest option as it deactivates the virus while generic transport medium remains infectious and poses risks to people handling it.
How is Advancells MTM kit different from generic universal transport medium?
Advancells MTM kit is designed and optimized for molecular testing by inactivating the microbial entity. The molecular transport medium inactivates microbes whilst preserving and stabilizing the released nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) for downstream molecular applications, including PCR and next-generation sequencing.
Generic universal transport medium, on the other hand, are designed for viral transport for culture work as they keep the virus intact. Advancells MTM kit ensures RNA sample stability for up to seven days at ambient temperatures and thus eliminates the need for cold chain transportation and storage. Advancells MTM kit inactivates the virus within 1 hour of collection and negates any risk during transportation and sample analysis.
Why to remove the cold chain transport requirement?
Cold chain transport adds significant cost and problems to the whole process and therefore is not always a viable option. As home testing is becoming more readily accessible, cold chain transport to the diagnostics is becoming less relevant.
Is Advancells MTM kit reusable for multiple tests?
Multiple diagnostic tests with molecular biology techniques can be processed from one sample swab but the MTM kit cannot be re-used for sample collection.
What is the future for Advancells MTM kit for sample transport?
When we talk about viral transport medium, or rather the generic universal transport medium, we mean transport of the viral sample intact where it can be used for growing and testing with conventional cell culture methods. The MTM kit or molecular transport medium is not limited to transporting virus and inactivating the viral entity alongside stabilizing viral RNA also gives it an upper hand in transporting molecular entities of other organisms, making it universal molecular transport medium. Although COVID-19 has popularized the use of viral transport, molecular transport medium or MTM kits will be useful even after the pandemic is over.
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