H3Africa commercial biospecimen shipment pilot study.
IBRH3AU with other H3Africa biorepositories undertook a commercial biospecimen shipment pilot study. The aims of this pilot study were to evaluate sample processing protocols and shipping procedures across Africa. The IBRH3AU received biospecimens from the IHVN and Cape Town biorepositories and IBRH3AU shipped commercial DNA to Nigeria. The second phase will be to test these procedures and protocols across Africa with real biospecimen.
Commercial DNA was purchased from Promega, aliquots of various DNA concentrations were prepared, packaged and shipped at 3 temperature conditions i.e dry ice, refrigerated and controlled ambient. World Courier was used for shipping and temperature monitoring systems were included in all shipments. Quality indicators (e.g. turnaround time, DNA/whole blood quality and quantity analysis before and after shipping and results obtained compared for any effects, border points crossing requirements, temperatures during transit and appropriateness of packaging materials) were assessed and lessons learnt from these outcomes.
On the Overall the quality of biospecimen (Commercial DNA and whole blood) was not affected despite out of range temperatures for ambient and refrigerated shipments from both the IHV-Nigeria and Stellenbosch University repositories for up to a period of seven days in transit . Dry Ice shipments were very successful through World Courier and only one incident with DHL where the packaging material was damaged. Points to note are; requirements at border points to import/export biospecimen to avoid delays and appropriate packaging.