The Specimen Repository
The Specimen Repository is one half of a 15 x 14m modular building occupied in January 2014. Its main duty is to house the eight 725-liter -80C freezers used for storage of plasma samples collected annually from 30,000 Population Cohort (PC) participants in the 12 PopART communities across Zambia. The freezers are capable of storing over 400,000 samples. In addition, the Specimen Repository is equipped with two -20C chest freezers, three upright freezers, and two refrigerators.
The Specimen Repository also provides space for processing the blood collected annually from 7,500 Population Cohort (PC) participants (2,500 per community) in the three PopART communities located in Lusaka: Chawama, Chipata, and Kanyama The lab area contains a centrifuge, computer equipped with the Laboratory Data Management System (LDMS) software, a barcode label printer and scanner, and a cabinet for safe handling of blood/plasma. The PC blood is centrifuged and the plasma is aliquotted into four tubes and stored at -80C within 8 hours of collection. The first plasma aliquot undergoes HIV testing using the Abbott Architect i2000SR instrument in the Serology Laboratory to determine HIV incidence in the community; the second aliquot undergoes HSV2 testing to determine HSV2 incidence in the community; the third aliquot is shipped to the HPTN Network Lab at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for confirmatory and other testing; and the fourth aliquot is held in long-term storage until the end of the study.
The Specimen Repository serves as a temperature-controlled warehouse for storage of the large quantities of supplies needed for PopART and other studies, such as thousands of Determine and Unigold HIV rapid test kits, Vacutainer blood collection tubes, etc. Also in Lusaka, at the Kanyama Health Center, we maintain Gene Xpert instruments for rapid TB diagnosis. As part of the PopART/HPTN 071 Study, Community HIV Care Providers (CHiPs ) conducting door-to-door counseling and testing in the community will collect sputum for Xpert testing from Intervention participants reporting symptoms of TB.
Outside of Lusaka, for the PopART/HPTN 071 Study – Population Cohort (PC), we have established five Regional Plasma Processing Laboratories at the following sites: Kitwe Central Hospital, Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital in Ndola, Kabwe General Hospital (in our BSL3 containerized TB laboratory), Choma General Hospital, and Livingstone General Hospital (in our BSL3 containerized TB laboratory). These laboratories are equipped with centrifuges, -80C freezers, Gene Xpert instruments for TB testing, computers, barcode label printers and scanners, and battery back-up power systems. The BSL3 containerized TB laboratories in Kabwe and Livingstone are also equipped with two Class II, type A2 biological safety cabinets (BSCs). The laboratories receive annual blood specimens from the 22,500 PC participants residing in the 9 PopART communities outside of Lusaka. The blood is centrifuged and the plasma is aliquotted into four tubes and stored in -80C freezers within 8 hours of collection. Every four to six weeks, the four aliquots of frozen plasma are transported to Lusaka for storage in the Specimen Repository at ZPCL.