According to the WHO Guidelines on the regulations regarding the transportation of infectious substances 2015/2016, the materials included in Category A“are substances that are transported in a form that, on exposure to them, they are capable of causing permanent incapacity, endanger lives or constitute a deadly disease for human beings or animals that were previously healthy". Within this category are included substances like the Ebola virus, the Masburg virus, Anthrax, the Dengue virus and the Mapucho virus, among many others.
Category A infectious materials can only be transported in packaging/containers which comply with the specifications of class 6.2 of the UN, and Packaging Instruction P620, ensuring that they have passed strict resistance tests (droptest from 9 metres, perforation, resistance to pressure and stacking). One important aspect is that the primary recipient or the secondary packaging/container must withstand a difference of pressure of no less than 95kPa. The standardised mark of the United Nations does not indicate whether the packaging/container has undergone these tests, so the users of the same must check with their suppliers whether the packaging complies with this requirement.
The triple packaging system for the shipping of Category A infectious substances comprises three levels:
- 1. Leakproof primary receptacle: This can be in the form of sample tubes, Petri dishes, urine collectors, etc. If they contain liquid samples, an absorbent safety pouch will be provided, which must absorb all the liquid being shipped in the case of breakage.
- 2. Secondary container: This allows various primary receptacles containing samples to be placed inside; it can withstand an internal pressure of 95kPa at a temperature range of -40ºC to +55ºC.
- 3. Outer packaging: This includes stability elements to ensure the secondary containers are held in the correct position, and all the pictograms required for its transportation. It must be resistant to water, ripping, impacts and chemical agents.