The FDA has recommended the use of phosphate buffered saline (PBS), in instances where typical transport media is not available, as an acceptable alternative to stabilize specimens within the transport tubes being sent to the lab for subsequent testing during this emergency situation. These transport tubes also allow for storage for up to 72h at 4°C. This means of transport will vastly improve the access to testing because PBS is more readily available than media.
Manufacturers, like Greiner Bio-One, are able to transition production from blood collection tubes to PBS-filled, sterile tubes on a large scale to help reduce the shortage of specimen collection supplies for molecular testing, which remains the recommended method for diagnosis of COVID-19. Access to supplies such as the VACUETTE® Viral Stabilization Tube will help to alleviate some of the barriers to testing for SARS-CoV-2 that laboratories are experiencing. As the manufacturing of test methods and the necessary supplies increases, and more people are able to be tested, the United States will be one step closer to containing this pandemic.