Transport Swabs Overview >
The origins of bacteriology transport medium can be attributed to the original clinical and laboratory research conducted by Dr. R.D Stuart at the Central Public Health Laboratory, Glasgow, Scotland which was continued at the Provincial Public Health Laboratory, in Edmonton, Canada. In 1946, Dr. R.D Stuart proposed the first simple semi-solid, non nutrient medium that consisted of agar, calcium chloride, sodium glycerophosphate, thioglycollate and methylene blue for transporting clinical swab samples, and is now universally known as Stuart Medium. The medium and concept was further elaborated in a series of publications in the late 1940s and 1950s by different scientists working together with Stuart, which lead to the birth of swab and medium sample collection kits or Transport Outfits. Further developments in transport medium did not occur until 1964, when Sylvia Cary and Eugene Blair proposed a modification of Stuart Medium, named Cary-Blair Medium, for the transportation of rectal swabs and fecal specimens for the isolation of enteric pathogens. Then, in 1967, Amies published a modification of Stuart’s Medium: Amies Medium. Unlike Cary-Blair Medium, which is almost exclusively associated with enteric transport, both Stuart and Amies Medium have been widely used for the transportation of a diverse range of clinical swab samples from sites including the eye, ear, nose, throat, skin, genital tract and wounds.
Commercially-manufactured swab transport kits appeared on the market in mid 1970s. The challenge for commercial manufacturers was to scale up a small batch “media kitchen” operation to a large scale industrialized process without losing any of the qualities and performance of the original invention. Stuart and Amies Media, the most widely used transport media for bacteriology, were designed as specimen maintenance media with no nutrients to avoid undesirable bacterial overgrowth. With a basic medium, any negative contribution from ingredients, components or the manufacturing process affects the product performance.
Large scale manufacture of millions of bacteriology transport swabs, as occurs at Copan, is far removed from the original “media kitchen” approach. But, at Copan, quality and performance are paramount and matching and exceeding the performance of the original inventor’s transport medium is important. The value of Copan is its deep understanding and continual research into all factors that impact the preservation of bacteria and the performance of its line of bacteriology swabs. By being vertically integrated, Copan controls all aspects of the manufacturing process, which is a major advantage as all key components and raw materials are carefully selected. Having full-service bacteriology, virology and molecular biology laboratories in-house, means continual product scrutiny, improvement and quality control in accordance with the CLSI M40-A standard to ensure that the end-product is the best possible for microbiology.
The original motivation of Stuart, Cary, Blair, and Amies was the invention of swab transportation devices that would preserve clinical samples from patient collection sites to the testing lab that could be many hours, or even days, away. This same challenge faces clinical microbiology labs today, not only to recover live bacteria after extensive transport, but also to preserve target analytes for EIA, rapid direct antigen or nucleic acid detection. Copan offers an extensive range of Stuart and Amies Transystem, as well as ESwab™ transport systems to meet this diverse challenge.