Transporting Harvested Stem Cells by a Courier from Brazil to South Africa during the Pandemic

Transporting Harvested Stem Cells by a Courier from Brazil to South Africa during the Pandemic

With the re-opening of South African borders passenger flight services slowly recovered. In October 2020 Ontime Onboard Courier was approached and asked if a life-saving HSC product could be picked up in Brazil and delivered in South Africa, while not only meeting the required transport conditions, cooled at 2-8 °C and within the required time frame, but also considering all new travel requirements issued by the Brazilian and South African Government with regards to the pandemic.

Once available flight connections, potential back up flights and “what if…” scenarios have been checked and reviewed, a decision was made together with the client. Due to the long distance and limited flight availability, it was determined to route via the European continent and to split the complete transport into two parts by providing two couriers carrying two transport boxes to complete the mission: – one courier covers the first segment from Brazil to Europe, the other courier covers the second leg from Europe to South Africa.

The first courier flew to Natal, Brazil with a preconditioned Crēdo ProMed™ transport box (+4 °C) to pick up the HSC product. Even if faced with a rebooking of the first transport flight leg the courier still arrived as scheduled at the airport of Madrid, where the life-saving transplant was handed over to the second courier, including the product transfer into another preconditioned Crēdo ProMed transport box (+4 °C). Six hours after product handover took place the second courier left Madrid aboard a flight to London Heathrow in order to catch the final long-haul
flight to South Africa.

40 hours after pick-up in Brazil, the HSC product was safely delivered to the transplant hospital in South Africa. Both temperature graphs provide evidence that the product was kept within the required temperature range of around +4 °C during the whole transportation process. This data came from the temperature logger devices used on transport. A proper preconditioning and the ability of Pelican BioThermal’s TIC™ coolants to hold the required temperature for the sufficient time frame meant that both couriers did not to have to rely on any external refrigerators or freezers while in transit.

Crēdo ProMed™ Series 4 8L boxes not only protect the sensitive payload from physical impacts but keep HSC products within the required temperature range at the same time during every transport around the globe. A proven track record of more than 10,000 transports show the reliability and system stability of these boxes.

The transport from Brazil to South Africa resulted in the successful transfusion of an HSC product helping to safe the life of a patient in need. This was our fourth transport for the customer from South America to South Africa where the boxes facilitated a successful delivery by meeting all requirements for temperature control and duration of transportation time.