International Reagent Resources



COVID-19 Diagnostic Supplies Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Get the answers you need about International Reagent Resource (IRR) catalog and COVID-19 diagnostic supplies and reagents.

 

Table of Contents

  1. What supplies are being distributed by IRR for COVID testing?
  2. Where can I find a complete product list of items for COVID testing?
  3. When is my order shipping?
  4. What email communications will I receive after I order from IRR? 
  5. Is IRR providing laboratories with the Abbott® ID NOW™ COVID-19 Assay?
  6. If I need to modify my order, should I reorder?
  7. Why was my order quantity reduced?
  8. Why was my order canceled?
  9. Why is [this item] out of stock? When can I order this? 
  10. Can I register this lab/hospital with IRR?
  11. Full List of Current IRR Supplies.
  12. Where can I order collection kits with swabs and viral transport medium? 
  13. Is IRR distributing COVID-19 kits internationally?

 

1.  What supplies are being distributed by IRR for COVID testing? 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) consolidated testing supplies under IRR to simplify the resource request process for public health laboratories in states and territories, alleviate the financial burden on public health labs, and optimize testing capacity across the public health system. IRR fulfills orders to maximize public health laboratory testing using a data-driven algorithm.

Initially, supplier inventories will not satisfy demand. However, as commercial manufacturers increase production, IRR supplies will expand, allowing for fulfillment of more orders. IRR encourages laboratories to order reagent quantities that correlate to 1–1½ weeks of testing while manufacturer inventories are constrained.

The expanded catalog of COVID diagnostic supplies includes: 

  • DISCONTINUED: Sample collection kits, to swab via the nasopharynx, nose, and/or throat (see FAQ #12 for more information).
  • Extraction kits, to isolate the viral genetic material (RNA)
  • Test kits, to determine the presence of COVID-19

 

2.  Where can I find a complete product list of items for COVID testing?

A comprehensive list of all diagnostic testing supplies available through IRR is provided below.  New reagents may be added to the IRR catalog as the emergency response progresses.

 

3.  When is my order shipping?

To reduce processing and shipping times, IRR will coordinate distribution of some supplies directly from manufacturers. Laboratories should continue to indicate their availability for Saturday delivery on each order. 

Supplies produced by CDC or included within the “Instructions for Use” associated with the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel will continue to ship from IRR directly, typically within 2-3 business days from order approval.  These items are denoted by an ER catalog number.

Supplies purchased by IRR from other commercial manufacturers will ship directly from manufacturers upon receipt of approved orders from CDC, in accordance with the manufacturers’ available shipping schedule. These items are denoted by a DR, HR, JR or KR catalog number.

See table associated with FAQ #11 for vendor-specific details. 

 

4.  What email communications will I receive from IRR regarding pending orders? 

Laboratories will receive the following email updates after submitting orders: 

  • Order received: This email acknowledges receipt of order before orders are confirmed or approved
  • Order confirmed: This email informs the laboratory of items that are approved, reduced or cancelled. 
  • Order shipped: This email indicates when items have shipped, and may contain FedEx tracking numbers if available. This email is sent directly from manufacturer or distributor. 

 

5.  Is IRR providing laboratories with the Abbott® ID NOW™ COVID-19 Assay? 

As of May 4th, 2020, purchase of the Abbott® ID NOW™ COVID-19 Assay and external controls and distribution to state and US territory public health laboratories are managed directly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recipient laboratories will receive these materials based on the date and quantity installments communicated directly from HHS. 

For more details, visit:  https://www.internationalreagentresource.org/AbbottNow.aspx

 

6.  If I need to modify my order, should I reorder? 

If you have already submitted an order but it has not shipped, please do not resubmit the order if you need to modify it. Instead, send an email to IRR Customer Service (contact@internationalreagentresource.org) to request a modification to your existing order.

Orders that have already shipped cannot be modified. 

 

7.  Why was my order quantity reduced?

Due to limited inventories and high demand, CDC may reduce some of the quantities ordered to ensure that states and counties across the United States can continue critical testing.  The adjusted quantity in your order reflects what IRR can supply at this time.

We truly understand the frustration you are experiencing because of manufacturer supply constraints. IRR staff will continue to work diligently to secure additional inventory and fulfill as many requests as possible.

 

8.  Why was my order canceled? 

IRR may cancel an order occasionally for reasons that include limited inventory, high request volumes, as well as back-to-back repeat orders in excess of IRR’s current ability to fulfill. 

IRR encourages laboratories to order reagent quantities that correlate to 1–1 ½ weeks of testing while manufacturer inventories are constrained. As commercial manufacturers increase production, IRR anticipates that the allocation of supplies to all laboratories will expand.

We truly understand the frustration you are experiencing because of manufacturer supply constraints. IRR staff will continue to work diligently to secure additional inventory and fulfill as many requests as possible. 

 

9.  Why is [this item] out of stock? When can I order this? 

IRR will update the availability status of back-ordered items to “Temporarily Out of Stock” when pending back orders exceed available inventory.  Supplies with this status cannot be ordered at this time. We understand that back orders delay your laboratory’s critical testing processes and cause uncertainty that impedes your ability to implement effective contingency plans.

Rather than accumulate back orders, laboratories are encouraged to review the availability of alternative supplies available from the IRR catalog until their preferred items are back in stock. 

 

10.  Can I register this lab/hospital with IRR? 

CDC limits IRR registration and CDC’s SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic reagent distribution to U.S. state and/or local public health laboratories qualified by CDC to perform seasonal influenza surveillance testing and to local laboratories approved by their state public health laboratory to perform SARS-CoV-2 testing. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, CDC will defer the decision to authorize new laboratories to the corresponding state public health laboratory. Qualified laboratories must have the appropriate certifications (CLIA) to serve as a diagnostic laboratory as well as appropriate equipment, training, and demonstration of testing proficiency under their state laboratory’s stewardship in order to maintain their status as a qualified laboratory.

 

11.  Full List of Current IRR Supplies

 

 

12.  Where can I order collection kits with swabs and viral transport medium?

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is directly managing allocation of swabs and media, including viral transport medium (VTM), based on state and territory testing plans that were submitted in response to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requirements. Allocations were predetermined to maximize state and territory testing using a data-driven algorithm based on population, high incidence areas, and COVID-19 Task Force’s directives. Currently, HHS is distributing the following swabs: nasopharyngeal (NP), nasal, foam, and poly swabs. HHS is distributing the following media: saline, phosphate buffered saline solution (PBS), and VTM. For specific swab or medium requests, delivery site changes, or other related requests contact COVID19TestSupplies@hhs.gov.

Public health and clinical laboratories can also produce their own VTM if it is unavailable for purchase. In response to VTM shortages, CDC posted a standard operating procedure for the preparation of VTM. Saline is also an acceptable transport medium for some COVID-19 viral assays, including the CDC 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. Check the Instructions for Use to see which transport medium is acceptable.

 

13.  Is IRR distributing COVID-19 kits internationally?

Currently, IRR is not distributing COVID-19 test kits nor other COVID-19 related reagents internationally.

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