Timestrip Indicators Track Vaccine Cold Chain Specifications

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.

ultra low pharmaceutical storage

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.

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Novel Indicators Provide Essential Monitoring of Virus Specimens

Timestrip®, the developer of smart indicator technology, has developed an important new range of indicators to help healthcare professionals meet WHO guidelines in the handling of virus specimens.

virus storage temperature range

The Timestrip Virus Specimen Transport (VST) series has been specially formulated to provide a clear indication when key temperature levels are exceeded.

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.

The VST range of indicators includes a product specifically for monitoring temperatures exceeding 53°C.

frozen virus shipments

FDA and WHO regulations state that it is important to avoid freezing and thawing of specimens.

The Timestrip VST 0°C will 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.

The new Virus Specimen Transport products are available now from Timestrip.


for release 11th June 2020

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White Paper: COVID-19 Vaccine & Antivirals – Delivering Solutions Safely

Timestrip has a new white paper detailing the importance of monitoring time and temperature parameters during storing and transporting to point of care

For more information on how Timestrip UK Ltd is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, please see this post.

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Efficient, effective healthcare with Timestrip®

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 quality

✔ Reduce product waste

✔ Ensure regulatory compliance

✔ Reduce time and temperature monitoring costs

But what does this look like in practice?

Improving quality control and efficiency

blood transportation compliance

A bag of whole blood with a Timestrip® Blood Temp 10°C

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 unnecessarily.

Its use of Timestrip® Blood Temp 10 – 10°C Blood Irreversible Transit Temperature Indicator noted the following advantages:

✔ Improved quality of care

✔ Improved workflow efficiency

✔ Maintenance of quality control during transportation and storage

✔ Support in complying with regulatory guidelines

Cost-effective regulatory compliance

Timestrip® PLUS™ 8°C

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.

Although other products helped achieve regulatory compliance, the company began using Timestrip® PLUS™ 8°C 8 Hrs (TP065) Irreversible Time and Temperature Indicators because they were much more competitively priced.

Overall the company reported:

✔ Timestrip Indicators were 50% cheaper

✔ Delivery costs were 50% lower

✔ Delivery times were faster

✔ Positive end-user feedback around ease of use

Easy temperature monitoring for vaccine transport

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.

Timestrip® PLUS (TP 217) 25°C

C

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 visual data

✔ Ease of use

✔ Reliability

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.

Clinical Innovations ROM Plus with Timestrip
The ROM Plus® test kit with its built-in Timestrip time indicator and activation button

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 outcomes

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.

Timestrip produces a broad range of Time Indicators

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 curtains.”

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

✔ Hygienically clean hospital environment for patients

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Time Out of Temperature Controlled Environment – TOTCE

Using a Chemical Time and Temperature Label

There are many ways to measure temperature change and for recording how long a temperature-controlled substance, material, or chemical compound, is maintained outside of its normal required temperature limits for stability, or future use. Time Out is not a new term, or monitoring application, but it is a complex one and certainly needed. The most common is for Pre-Preg and Carbon Fiber materials that must be maintained within strict temperature guidelines for flexibility and strength requirements, plus many Chemical compounds and liquid API’s (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients). These strict limits also apply to certain bio-logics and vaccines that can only be “out-of-environment” for short periods of time whilst they are being worked with, formulated, or packaged.

Timestrip PLUS 10C 8hour

These tracking solutions range from RFID tracking and monitoring with expensive tags and readers to complex solution software applications that read and record these expensive electronic devices, attached to the item being monitored, as these pass in and out of the safe temperature zones.

On the low-end monitoring is done by timers with alarms and some form of temperature recorder to show the temperature limits that the materials were exposed to. Combine both elements and you get a Time and Temperature limit that the materials were within showing how long this was for.

But in some applications, simplicity may be a better solution like – a time and temperature breach indicator label, instead of reading separate items and manually recording these for record purposes.

temperature breach indicatorsTimestrip Plus labels and Run Timer Labels are used for many applications ranging from monitoring event times related to an expiration of effect use life to monitoring vaccine and bio’ shipments as these pass through a logistics operation, or down the cold chain supply chain. However, if you take a Timestrip Plus label that contains a time element and a temperature limit indicator for an excursion, or the work environment temperature, you have a truly unique and simple way of measuring TOTCE!

The advantage that these labels offer is quite simple by the fact that once the label is outside of its “strike” temperature the chemical will flow down the time indicator scale to show how long the label is outside of the lower product stability-controlled temperature environment. When the material or chemical substance with the label attached is returned to the temperature-controlled environment the chemical will stop flowing and only now show the “Out-Time”. If this item is taken in and out many times the label will begin to form a total aggregated TOTCE as the chemical flows and stops each time it moves in and out of the two environments.

A record of each individual “Out-Time” can be captured by taking a photo with a Smart Phone which will show the time and date that it was taken, and this can be stored as a permanent record linked to the serial number on the label itself that will be clearly seen in the photograph.

Sometimes simple is the best approach based upon the old adage of the “KISS” philosophy, so contact Timestrip today if you want to find out more about this TOTCE solution offering.

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