What does Category B mean in the transport of a virus?


The coronavirus pandemic ddeclared since March 11, 2020, by the WHO is not the first we face.

The bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox and the Spanish flu are some examples of pandemics that had a great impact on the health of the millions of people who endured them. Even with the latter, the population level was alarmingly reduced. Today, the development of treatments, innovation, medical and pharmacological advances allow us not even to be aware of the millions of viruses to which we are exposed daily and that in another time would have become fatal.

Esquema del embaje básico con sistema triple capa

Well, what would these viruses be? We can classify them based on the requirements for the transport of pathogens, which in turn depend on the impact they have on the living organism. There are mainly two different types; category A and category B.

Before starting, we must know the basic packaging or triple layer system to transport any infectious substance:

  • Waterproof and watertight primary container to which an absorbent material is added to protect the sample.
  • Durable, watertight and waterproof secondary container.
  • Outer packaging: packaging with a cushioning material.


Category A infectious substances

Exposure to Category A infectious substances can cause permanent disability, endanger life, or be fatal to previously healthy humans and / or animals.

For example, a blood sample with HIV or Ebola are high-risk pathogens that have not yet disappeared and with which a specific Category A transport is necessary.

These substances must be properly labeled according to the code: UN 2814, “INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCE AFFECTING HUMANS”

The transport system for these samples is not the basic one, as we have seen previously. The packaging system for this type of samples is the P620, it includes the triple layer system with an additional outer packaging. In our case, this would correspond to a BIOTHERM box, which meets all the requirements for the transport of infectious diseases.

Esquema transporte de sustancias infecciosas Categoría A - Pharmacold

Esquema transporte de sustancias infecciosas Categoría A – Pharma Cold Solutions


Category B infectious substances

Category B infectious substances do not meet the criteria for inclusion in category A. That is, the  COVID-19 virus is listed as a Category B substance as it is an “opportunistic pathogen”. It needs a living organism with specific conditions to be fatal.

These substances must be duly labeled according to the code: UN 3373, “BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE CATEGORY B”

The packaging system for this type of sample is the P650. Pharma Cold Solutions products such as Pathopak or Pathoshield are the references indicated with these requirements and identified according to the standard, UN 3373.


From Pharma Cold Solutions we propose that in situations as particular as the one we are experiencing, the necessary means are available. You can ask us for these and other solutions here.

Not found