How to Select a Lab Freezer or Refrigerator

How to Choose a Lab Refrigerator or Freezer

Lab freezers and lab refrigerators have received increasing attention in the press because of their importance is storing vaccines between the time of manufacture and being injected into a patient’s arm.  As reported in Scientific American, lab freezers and lab refrigerators play a role in the “COVID Cold Chain.”  This post explains how to select a lab freezer or refrigerator for coronavirus vaccines and other temperature-critical products.

The Difference Between Lab Units and Household Units

A lab freezer or refrigerator is designed and constructed to meet much stricter standards than typically found in household or commercial units.  Vaccines, other pharmaceuticals, blood and plasma, for example, must be stored within tight temperature ranges to avoid loss of potency or spoilage. 

Important Points to Keep in Mind

Proper storage of these and other temperature-sensitive products is strictly governed  by organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and agencies such … Read the rest

When and How to Specify an Ultra-Low Freezer

Norlake Select ultra-low freezers have 5 internal compartments
Norlake Select ultra-low freezers are CDC-compliant

At this posting Phase 3 clinical trials are underway for COVID-19 vaccines, some of which call for an ultra-low freezer for storage and transport.  Examples described in a September Wall Street Journal article notes the unusually cold storage temperatures – as low as -80⁰C – required. Covid-19 vaccine candidates are one of many applications for ultra-low freezers.  This post provides you with info on when and how to specify one of these units. 

Unlike “ordinary” freezers, ultra-low freezers are not inexpensive.  The investment is important when the job is to  protect contents of high value and sometimes for long periods of time.  More on this below.

Fortunately there are a number of ultra-low freezers on the market to ease the selection of a model that best suits your needs.

What is Meant by Ultra-Low Freezers?

Good question.

There are freezers, low-temperature freezers and ultra-low … Read the rest

How to Select an Ultra Low Temperature Freezer

Ultra low temperature freezers generally operate between user-set ranges from -40⁰C to -86⁰C whereas models described as low temperature laboratory freezers can be set from -10⁰C to -40⁰C, depending on make and model.  Ultra low freezers such as the Norlake Ultra-Low Select models available from Tovatech are used to support product protection and performance testing across a range of life science and manufacturing operations.   Available in 19, 23.2 and 27.5 cubic foot capacities, the Nor-Lake models are ideal for applications such as preserving rare or costly biological specimens and testing equipment that must perform reliably under conditions of severe cold to -86⁰C.

Spec Tips for Ultra Low Temp Freezers

Keep in mind that the lower you set the thermostat on an ultra low temperature freezer the more energy it consumes to maintain that temperature.   Match the temperature capability to storage or environmental testing recommendations.  Norlake Ultra-Low Select upright freezers allow … Read the rest

CDC Refrigeration Guidelines for Submitting COVID-19 Specimens for Testing

Plan for COVID-19 Vaccine Storage

While the search for a Coronavirus vaccine proceeds at full throttle a crucial issue is proper collection, labeling, storage and shipping of COVID-19 specimens to CDC laboratories for testing. Among procedures spelled out in the CDC’s Interim Guidelines is that coronavirus specimen shipments must be stored at 2-8⁰C and shipped overnight on icepack for testing within 72 hours. If a delay in shipping is expected, specimens must be stored at -70⁰C or lower. These agree with a companion guideline for post-mortem testing

Temperature Guidelines for COVID-19 Test Kits

Because there are so many sites collecting specimens there is a national shortage of reagents for the tests. Test kits are available for real-time PCR and in vitro diagnostic procedures.  One manufacturer specifies storage temperatures from -10⁰ to -30⁰C down to ≤-70⁰C depending on the components of the kits.

To meet these storage requirements you should be familiar with

  • Scientific Refrigerators
  • Scientific Freezers
Read the rest

Selecting Scientific Refrigeration Equipment

Scientific refrigeration equipment includes refrigerators and freezers used to store vaccines, pharmaceuticals, biological samples and similar temperature-sensitive products and specimens for healthcare, R&D and related applications.  Scientific refrigerators and freezers have critical performance requirements generally unmet by residential and commercial refrigeration systems.  For this reason they are highly recommended to protect contents that lose potency or are otherwise compromised by what are called temperature excursions above or below recommended storage settings. Therefore, selecting scientific refrigeration equipment for your needs is key.

Correct storage temperatures are usually recommended by professional or government organizations.  The CDC, for example, recommends in its 2016 Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit that frozen vaccines be stored between -50⁰ and -15⁰C (-58⁰ and + 5⁰F); refrigerated vaccines should be stored at 2⁰ and 8⁰C (36⁰ and 46⁰ F).  Vaccine manufacturers indicate correct storage temperatures that should apply along what is called the “cold chain” extending from the … Read the rest