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BioCen develops secure medium to transport viral samples, a first in Cuba

vacuna covidResearchers at the National Biopreparations Center (BioCen) have developed Cuba’s first secure medium to transport viruses, created for use in the collection and transfer of patients’ nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal samples for the diagnosis of SARS-COV-2, the COVID-19 causal agent.

BioCen achieved and industrially scaled the product in only seven days and, subsequently received its Sanitary Registration from the State Center for the Control of Drugs, Equipment and Medical Devices (Cecmed).

The new product guarantees the continuity of microbiological testing and the epidemiological surveillance needed to control the disease on the island, contributing to the establishment of measures immediately, to minimize transmission of the contagious disease, and supporting increased active surveys to identify suspected cases, including those of asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

The medium’s creation is the result of close collaboration between BioCen and the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine. Other public health institutions and BioCubaFarma contributed to its evaluation, among them, the Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), the Havana Provincial Hygiene and Epidemiology Center, and the city’s Salvador Allende Hospital.

Among the advantages of this innovative product is the secure preservation of samples, from the moment they are collected in a health care facility or isolation center, to their processing via RT-PCR at a molecular biology laboratory.

PhD Marilyn Díaz Pérez, a BioCen researcher and the principal creator of the innovation, explained to Granma that the sample transporter was developed under rigorous conditions in accordance with the most demanding international standards and based on the institution’s quality management system certified by the ISO 9001 norms for more than 20 years, following best practices recognized by the industry.

She indicated that its production in Cuba offers technological sovereignty and will replace imports, a significant accomplishment since similar products are sold on the international market at high prices.

Dr. Díaz Pérez pointed out that between April and early October, this year, the national public health system required more than 100,000 units to securely transport viral samples.

With the manufacture of the medium and swabs, developed by the Center of Neurosciences of Cuba (Cneuro) for sampling, it is now possible to complete the diagnostic kit within the country, essential given the current health contingency we face.

(Taken from Granma)

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