Sample Transport – Coronavirus


CAT B substances are those with a level of pathology that, according to WHO guidelines, must be transported with stricter packaging / packaging requirements in order to avoid any contact of the substance with the outside. This is achieved thanks to a more robust and developed packaging compared to the basic sample transport system.

All those infectious substances sub-classified in category B (UN 3373) and transported in accordance with the triple packaging instruction P650 can be considered safe and compliant for all means of transport.

Transporte muestras coronavirus

An example of triple packaging materials that can be used to comply with the P650 instruction for Category B infectious substances is shown in fig. 1.

These substances are not subject to any other packaging requirements beyond that described (P650) compared to the more detailed test and approval cases required for the packaging of Category A infectious substances. Therefore, it is generally more feasible to obtain Packaging materials from local manufacturers or suppliers that comply with P650. In this case, manufacturers or suppliers must provide clear instructions to the user (shipper, shipper or consignee) on how to properly fill and seal the package to ensure full compliance with instruction P650.

The stipulations outlined in Instruction P650, in addition to the basic triple pack system, include the following:

  • For surface transport, the secondary or outer container must be rigid; that is, if the outer packaging is soft, the secondary packaging must be rigid, or vice versa. The most used measure is the one used for air transport since a rigid outer container is always required. 
  • Complete triple packaging must be able to withstand a 1.2m drop test to demonstrate that it has adequate strength and quality.
  • The primary container or secondary container must be capable of withstanding an internal pressure of 95 kPa (0.95 bar). This should be verified using a methodology appropriate to the type of container or packaging being used (eg internal hydraulic or pneumatic pressure gauges, or external vacuum testing).

PHARMACOLD has the packaging system used to contain a cat B infectious substance and this is the PATHOPAK solution.


Fig. 2, PATHOPAK solution


Pathopak is the product that meets all the requirements for the transport of CAT B infectious disease samples:

  • A rigid primary container
  • A second leak-proof airtight and waterproof packaging / container to protect the primary container
  • A third outer layer which protects the sample from any damage / blow caused during its transport.


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