Transportation of samples to the laboratory

Swabs can be transported at between 4°C and room temperature (the WHO recommends transportation at 4°C) and should ideally be processed within 72 h of collection. Transportation of specimens can be difficult in many countries, but should not be taken on public transport, due to the danger of infection in the event of accidental exposure. Ideally, specimens should be transported using a courier trained and insured to transport pathogenic specimens. Specimens should be appropriately packaged according to your country’s (and the WHO) guidelines. The following links may help to provide guidance:

Collecting, preserving and shipping samples for flu.

Transportation of viral samples.

UK government COVID-19 sample packaging and transportation requirements.

WHO guidance on transportation of flu swabs.

The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) have published sample transportation guidelines.