Timestrip®, the developer of smart indicator technology, has released two new ranges designed to be used with the latest coronavirus vaccines now becoming available. The indicators track temperature and time, and will ensure that vaccines are fresh when administered to patients.
The Timestrip Vaccine Thaw Timer is an event thaw indicator with 24 hour time indication calibrated to run at fridge temperatures. It can be packed with vaccines that require storage at -70°C in the ultra-cold chain, and automatically starts monitoring as the vaccine is thawed and transferred to chilled conditions at the hospital or surgery. It then tracks the time from thaw at 6 hours, 12 hours and up to 24 hours, meeting the specifications for use from manufacturers such as Pfizer.
The Timestrip Vaccine Refrigeration Monitor range comprises three indicators. One is designed to indicate the thawing event of the vaccine; another will time 30 days duration in refrigerator conditions (2°C-8°C), helping the user to manage the vaccine manufacturer’s guidelines for use.
Then, when the vaccine has been taken from the refrigerator and prepared for use, a third indicator monitors how long it has been exposed to temperatures above 8°C, typically at room temperature. The time ‘run out’ for the Vaccine Refrigeration Monitor VOR12 (Vaccine Out of Refrigerator) is up to 12 hours, with shorter times to an alert being seen at higher temperatures.
These Vaccine Refrigeration Monitor products will help overcome challenges in the handling of COVID-19 vaccines up to the point of administering, and are designed to support the manufacturers’ specification for the handling of vaccines such as those from Moderna.
Both indicators provide a clear irreversible indication to healthcare staff that conditions of storage and handling have exceeded acceptable conditions, and that the vaccine consignment cannot be relied upon.
Based on safe chemical technology, both the Vaccine Thaw Timer and Vaccine Refrigeration Monitor range overcome the limitations of batteries used at ultra-low temperatures.
We continue to innovate our patented technology to bring the benefits to important applications such as vaccine distribution, supply and last mile handling. Using these indicators, healthcare professionals worldwide can be supported cost effectively, and guided through soon to be routine practices of handling and managing these vital resources.
Nora Murphy, Commercial Director of Timestrip.
Timestrip has recently added other products to its range in response to coronavirus. These include an indicator to monitor antiviral solutions, and Rapid Diagnostics 15, a 15 minute timer indicator for use with rapid turnaround lateral flow test kits.
These indicators monitor when specimens – including coronavirus – have been stored for too long and outside the required temperature range for reliable testing.
Four products make up the VST range.
Together they form an essential tool to support hospitals, surgeries and medical laboratories in storing and transporting virus specimens correctly, and preserving their integrity.
A virus specimen’s exposure to temperature over time is critical to its lifetime, so the VST series includes a unique integrating indicator, the Timestrip VST TTI, which mirrors the accumulated time-temperature history of the virus specimen during transport and storage.
Virology specimen collection guidelines state that most viruses remain stable at 4°C for 2-3 days, so VST TTI is effective with a wide range of virus types.
Designed to meet specific regulations, the TTI label will indicate when 72 hours of chilled storage has elapsed by showing a clear visual discard window. At high temperatures, the label will show the discard indication within just a few hours.
Scientists and clinicians know that bacteria and viruses deteriorate much more quickly as temperatures increase, and also as exposure time increases. For example, at 50-55°C, coronavirus becomes non-infectious within just a few hours.
FDA and WHO regulations state that it is important to avoid freezing and thawing of specimens.
The Timestrip VST 0°Cwill reliably track a thawing event. If the ambient temperature rises above freezing, the indicator will show the cumulative period of thawing.
Timestrip VST Fridge Combi includes two indicators. One unique element indicates when a period of 72 hours has passed during chilled conditions (2-8°C), aligning with FDA / WHO regulations.
The other element provides a temperature breach indication, giving a clear signal when conditions have exceeded the regulated upper chilled limit of 8°C/46°F during storage or transport.
“As part of the fight against coronavirus, our new VST virus specimen transport range will help support scientists by monitoring specimens from collection right through to point of test, giving confidence in the integrity of the specimen, and thus the test results.
These simple yet effective products provide a solution to a real problem in the storage and handling of virus specimens, including Covid-19. Medics and laboratory technicians can now have an explicit signal when specimens have breached the safe zone of thermal exposure and are invalid for testing.”
Nora Murphy, Commercial Director of Timestrip UK Ltd
The VST is expected to be the first of many speciality ranges to be offered by Timestrip that provide practical solutions for pathology, microbiology, mycobacteria and other laboratory specimen handling, where temperature and time monitoring are required.
From hospital curtains to pharmaceutical carts to floors, sanitation protocols need strict adherence to prevent contamination more than ever.
In response to this risk, sanitisers and sterilization products such as wipes and solutions are increasingly being put to use. As far as current medical knowledge knows, the virus is very sensitive to the cleaning and disinfecting agents currently in use.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that ‘enveloped’ viruses such as COVID-19 are the easiest type to inactivate using disinfectants.1
A spokesperson for the American Hospital Association says that while frequent cleaning is standard, hospitals are giving special attention to “high-touch surfaces such as in-room phones, TV/nurse calls, light switches and cords, handles, drawer pulls, bed rails, tray tables and bathroom fixtures.”2
However, sterilizing solutions will only achieve maximum efficacy while still fresh. They must be used within a specified period after being opened and have a limited shelf life.
Timestrip time indicators can be a valuable part of the infection control processes here, and a range of standard products is available.
Timestrip Time indicators are a visual alert that a disinfectant is out of date
Whether in a major teaching hospital, a walk-in clinic or a
doctor’s surgery, any type of healthcare boils down to two broad objectives:
improved patient outcomes and the best possible use of resources.
Although historically reconciling patient health and the
harsh realities of budgetary constraints have at times led to difficult
choices, the fact is that by integrating technology and innovation into
decision making around resource allocation, both objectives can be achieved at
the same time.
Indeed, thanks to its high tech / low cost Time and
Temperature Indicator labels, Timestrip® is able to provide healthcare
providers and the pharmaceutical sector with a broad range of practical,
user-friendly solutions that:
✔ Ensure product
✔ Reduce product
✔ Ensure regulatory
✔ Reduce time and
temperature monitoring costs
But what does this look like in practice?
Improving quality control and efficiency
Tenet Healthcare is US healthcare provider that faced the
challenge of needing to effectively manage how it processed bags of whole
blood. On the one hand, it faced the need to comply with local regulatory
requirements related to the use of effective temperature monitoring for blood
products; and on the other, it had to discard any bag of blood that had been
exposed to a temperature above 10°C for more than 30 minutes.
The company needed to be absolutely certain that any unused
bag of whole blood was 100% safe to be returned to storage for future use. It
had also noted ongoing difficulties in using other blood temperature
indicators. Potentially, the latter could lead to doubts about product safety,
which in turn would require that bag of blood to be discarded, possibly
✔ Maintenance of
quality control during transportation and storage
✔ Support in
complying with regulatory guidelines
Cost-effective regulatory compliance
Marathon Distributors is a pharmaceutical and healthcare
logistics services provider in Cyprus and is involved in the distribution of
pharmaceutical products throughout the island. The main cold chain management
issue it faced was around compliance with local and EU regulations, specifically
the country’s Law on Human Pharmaceuticals 70(I) 2001 and the EU guidelines on
Good Distribution & Manufacturing Practices. These mandated the company to
ensure that the pharmaceuticals it delivered were not exposed to a temperature
above 8°C for more than 8 hours during transportation.
Cambridgeshire Community Service NHS Trust is a UK
healthcare provider in south-east England. Part of its work is the delivery of
school-age immunisations to schools in its area. This includes for instance flu
nasal immunisations for primary schools and HPV vaccinations and Meningitis
ACWY and TdIPV for secondary schools.
For the delivery of vaccines, electric Labcold Portable
Vaccine Carriers and pharmaceutical-grade vaccine carriers are used. In order
to maintain the efficacy of the various transported vaccines, two different temperature
ranges need to be managed: 2°C to 8°C and -25°C to 25°C.
In order to ensure the delivery of viable, unspoiled
vaccines, the Trust thus had a requirement for a dual, low-cost solution for
use by its delivery teams.
To achieve this, two Timestrip products have been used in
each vaccine carrier:
● a Timestrip® PLUS (TP 065) to indicate if the temperature
went above 8°C
● a Timestrip® PLUS (TP 217) to indicate if the temperature
exceeded 25°C, and if so, for how long
The feedback from the delivery teams has been extremely
positive, specifically around:
✔ Easy to read
✔ Ease of use
Reliable test kit time data
Clinical Innovations is a US maker of obstetrics devices that wanted to develop a non-invasive test kit for the diagnosis of any rupture of membranes (ROM). Although treatable, spontaneous ROM is a serious medical condition and a major cause of preterm births. Thus, an accurate diagnosis of ROM can be a key factor in determining timely and appropriate medical intervention. Similarly, a false diagnosis of ROM can lead to unnecessary hospitalisation, medication and even induced premature delivery.
Timestrip was able to provide Clinical Innovations with Time
Indicators for its ROM Plus® self-contained test kit. These give clinicians the
essential and immediate data they need to reduce the dangers of any premature
ROM for expectant mothers and their babies.
The test kit uses Timestrip technology with an in-built
20-minute time monitoring indicator that generates the required data within
5-20 minutes, with 5,10 and 20 minutes clearly indicated on the Timestrip. Its
key benefits are:
✔ Clear visual data
✔ Ease of use
✔ Improved health
Hygienic healthcare environment
Beyond pharmaceuticals and blood products, healthcare also
involves various types of disposable items that need replacing regularly.
Especially for the sick, hygiene in the clinical environment is an essential
aspect of patients being able to make a full recovery.
Assuming the absence of any complications, catheters for
instance need to be replaced every 30 days for Foley catheters and every 60-90
days for silicone catheters. Catheter bags however need to be replaced every
5-7 days. If these items are not replaced at appropriate intervals,
opportunities are created for harmful pathogens to develop.
Unsurprisingly, this has also been shown to be the case for
hospital privacy curtains. Dr Kevin Shek was the lead study author into the
rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains in a burns/plastic ward. In
a report about the study findings in Nursing Times, he said:
“We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for
cross-contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed.
The high rate of contamination that we saw by the fourteenth day may represent
an opportune time to intervene, either by cleaning or replacing the
Especially in busy hospital departments such as Accident
& Emergency and ICU, hospital privacy curtains can quickly become
contaminated with bacteria such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and
Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Thanks to Timestrip® Time Monitoring Indicator
panels that change color after a set period of time, clinical staff are alerted
when a privacy curtain needs to be changed. They help a hospital achieve:
✔ Best use of
resources with a low-cost solution
✔ Compliance with
guidelines around frequency of change
✔ Less time needed
to monitor when that change needs to occur
clean hospital environment for patients
adminEfficient, effective healthcare with Timestrip®
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