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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Hospital Sterilization Practices and Timestrip

As part of the measures to control the spread of coronavirus, many organisations, from hospitals to care homes, are tightening up procedures that involve touching surfaces.

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

Timestrip has a wide range of time monitoring indicators for hospitals in stock for quick ordering and shipment.

For monitoring the shelf life of proprietary sterilisers, our stock 1 and 2 year Timestrip Time indicators are available.

Time 7 days

Disinfectant solutions such as medical device sterilizers, dental disinfectants and hospital waterline disinfectants can have shorter shelf lives after preparation.

Timestrip Time 7 Day indicators are a stocked solution that has time markers for 1, 3 and 7 days.

Custom Healthcare Disinfectant Solutions

Timestrip custom solutions are available for specific time or temperature monitoring requirements. We design and manufacture solutions to suit your procedure, product or brand.

For stock (or custom) indicators, custom backing cards can be designed.

They can communicate to hospital workers on sanitisation procedures, give a place to securely attach indicators and and can be kept for validation of protocol.

sample

Shorter time indicators monitor sterilization procedures with critical time components. For example, hospital grade disinfectants with a 1, 3, 5 or 10 minute wait time for max efficacy.

Custom designed time indicators can provide confirmation that an area has been adequately sterilized with markers for 3, 5 and 10 minutes.

sample

Prepared solutions might have specialised shelf life monitoring times.

We can design a Time indicator with monitoring time from a few minutes to 2 years and even include multiple times within that range.

Contact us to get your hospital disinfection time monitoring solution today.

1 Infection Control Today “Surface Disinfection When Fighting COVID-19” link
2 NPR “Ships, Planes And Other Spots Are Getting A ‘Deep Clean.’ What’s That Mean?” link

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Ensuring Safe Home Food Delivery

During the current coronavirus outbreak, many of us are reviewing our shopping habits. Online purchasing can be a good way to avoid unnecessary personal contact. But what about chilled or frozen food?

How can we be sure that delivered supplies are kept at the right temperature, and stay safe to eat throughout their journey to our homes or offices? Some folks are even waiting longer before handling any food delivery, making storage conditions even more important.

Timestrip temperature indicators are available for producers and retailers to verify correct food transport conditions, reassuring the end customer that all is well.

Having a clearly visible indicator also helps encourage good operating procedures. When the boxes are opened, consumers can see if food has been kept at a safe temperature. If a temperature breach occurs, you can see a colour change from white to blue in the TTI window.

Here are a few companies that have adopted Timestrip solutions for safe food delivery:

Choicelunch

Choicelunch delivers fresh lunch food and used Timestrip PLUS smart indicators applied to the
inside of each cool box so they have a simple, highly accurate and clearly visible readout showing
how long the contents have been above the critical chilled threshold.
Choicelunch (and the State Health Inspectors) love the tamper-proof integrity of the Timestrip PLUS indicators.

From Home with Love

From Home With Love provides hundreds of home cooks across the USA with the packaging
necessary to send home cooked frozen meals to loved ones away at college, on work assignment or
on military service. They are including Timestrip PLUS Food indicators to reassure recipients that their lovingly prepared meals were stored below 5°C (40°F) while in transit.

Oliver Kay

Leading fruit and vegetable wholesaler Oliver Kay Produce has adopted Timestrip technology to help customers comply with temperature guidelines for fresh produce. Oliver Kay began placing Timestrip indicators on its crates to indicate clearly where the temperature breaches were
occurring, enabling them to show customers that they were not storing produce correctly.

It stopped complaints for problems over which we had no control and also enabled customers to improve shelf-life and quality of produce at their own locations.

Chris O’Connor, MD at Oliver Kay.

Ready-to-cook dinner packages

A couple of years ago, a study into delivery of ‘home meal kits’ by Rutgers-Tennessee State University suggested that nearly 47% of 684 items researchers ordered arrived with surface temperatures above 40°F (5°C), rendering them unsafe to consume.

Surface temperatures varied significantly among products in the same shipment, and even on different locations on the same product. Timestrip has developed low-cost time and temperature indicators (TTIs) that can be placed inside meal delivery boxes to monitor the internal temperature.

When the boxes are opened, consumers can see if a temperature breach has occurred, shown by a colour change from white to blue in the TTI window. Each Timestrip TTI includes a serial code to ensure batch traceability, and Timestrip indicators can be kept and/or recorded as proof of a temperature breach.

Stock & Custom Home Meal & Food Delivery Solutions

Timestrip designed and manufactures a line of low-cost time and temperature indicators (TTIs) that can be placed inside the food delivery boxes to monitor the internal temperature. Custom products can be manufactured to meet a range of compliance temperatures used in the food industry.

Timestrip Food temperature range
Timestrip PLUS Food Temperature indicators
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Concerns over expired PPE highlights importance of time monitoring

The coronavirus pandemic has led to greatly increased demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Agencies around the world have been hurriedly shipping any available supplies to healthcare centres, comprising millions of units.

samples of news items from the past week

Regrettably, healthcare workers are reporting that some of these supplies are past their stated expiration dates, potentially rendering them unusable for critical procedures such as surgery.

This scenario is a dramatic example of the importance of implementing clear and easy to use indicators to allow monitoring of medical supplies against their designed lifetime, thus ensuring complete efficacy.

Sanitiser dispenser with a Timestrip expiry reminder

Products with finite lifetimes include face mask filters, cannulas and IV feeds, as well as many chemicals such as hand sanitisers.

The Timestrip range of time monitoring indicators includes standard products for 1 year and 2 year periods as well as shorter ones. Bespoke indicators can be produced for other periods.

While the shipping and even the use of time expired medical supplies is understandable in the current public health emergency, healthcare authorities planning their procurement systems have the opportunity to ensure the safe restocking of supplies going forward.

At Timestrip, we are committed to doing all we can to help so please just let us know.

See more about Timestrip healthcare applications >>

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