Are you interested in collecting specimens? Do you wonder what the importance of collecting specimens is? If your answer to these two questions is yes, then you have found yourself coming to the right article. In this article, we will be talking all about specimen collection and why it is important for you. So without further ado, let us dive in.
What is a specimen?
Before we dive into talking about the several advantages of collecting specimens, let us take a look at what a specimen is. In simple words, a specimen is an individual of species, animal, or sample taken to laboratories for research.
The samples could be anything, such as a blood clot, hair strand, saliva, piece of skin, etc. The reason why people collect specimens is so that they can analyze the DNA and locate a person or a thing. It must be mentioned that the collection of specimens requires special tools and techniques to prevent mistakes.
Types of specimen
Now that you have a general idea of what a specimen is, let us take a look at the different types of specimens out there. The first type of specimen is known as a serum sample or more commonly known as a blood test.
In this type of specimen, an anticoagulant substance is added alongside with blood clot and a buffer solution. This type of specimen is usually done to isolate the plasma from the red blood cells and is then transferred to other laboratories for further testing.
Polymerase chain reaction
The second most common type of specimen is PCR. The basis of PCR is the DNA polymerase’s capacity to create new DNA strands that are complementary to the provided template strand. DNA polymerase requires a primer on which it may add the very first nucleotide since it can only add a nucleotide to an already-existing 3′-OH group. This prerequisite allows the researcher to identify a particular area of the template sequence that they want to amplify.
The specified sequence will accumulate in billions of copies at the finish of the PCR cycle. Now you may be wondering how much time this whole process takes. It must be mentioned that the polymerase chain reaction can be done in less than a week. The process usually depends on the size of the sample you are trying to achieve. However, you can expect to have samples in four to seven hours.
Virology swab sample
The third most common type of sample that is widely used in the medical field is the virology swab sample. This type of collection requires the use of a swab which is inserted into the nasal cavity or human or other places where the specimen is needed. If you are someone who does not know how a virology swab sample is performed, then do not worry, as we are here to guide you.
To get started, gently place a flexible plastic shafted mini-tipped nasopharyngeal swab through the nostril, through the nasopharynx. Then you should make sure that you Rotate the swab gently and then take it out, and break or chop it off into a universal transport medium (UTM).
Verify that the swab is entirely submerged in the UTM and that the rod is short enough for the cap to be securely fastened. Send as soon as you can to the lab or any specimen collector training facility.
Importance of specimen collection
Now that you have a deep understanding of the different methods of collecting specimens let us take a look at why it is so important in the medical field. Before we begin, it is worth mentioning that there are different types of specimen collection, and they are vastly used for different purposes.
• Tracking purposes
You may have noticed that specimens are collected at a crime scene. The reason why police and medical departments quickly collect specimens from a crime scene is so that they can test them in their laboratory.
The sample is taken and allowed to replicate in the laboratory so that thousands and millions of copies of the same specimen are produced, which can then be treated and tested differently. Another reason why medical experts take specimen samples is so that they can examine the cells and DNA sequence.
• Cure diseases
Now you may be thinking that specimens are only collected for crime scenes, but this is not true. In reality, the specimens may also be collected from a certain disease, virus, or fungus to analyze and study its composition.
Experts in the laboratory then take the specimen and try to figure out its inner workings and the chemistry behind its function. It must be mentioned that this is a strenuous and time taking process that usually takes months, if not years. For instance, specimen collection can be taken from a person’s blood to identify a certain unknown disease.
The affected cells in the blood of the person are taken and isolated in the laboratory. After this is performed, the cells are then viewed under an electron microscope to see the function and DNA sequence. The medical practitioner will then try to make medicine that has the function of destroying the disease-causing cell or protein.
The majority of people out there do not know this, but the specimen is sometimes collected for the mere purpose of maintaining records. Now you may be asking yourself, what sort of records are needed? Well, the specimens may be collected to store data such as blood type, age, gender, reproductive health, and much more.
At its core, the purpose of records is to ensure that a particular substance, individual, or thing existed at a particular time. By keeping these records, medical practitioners can study and compare any unknown diseases or symptoms that are harmful to humans.
Another reason why specimen collection is so important is that the specimen can be used to treat harmful diseases and bacteria. Many people do not know this but the health sector in almost every country keeps collecting specimens for months and years.
These specimens are stored in facilities with proper temperatures and conditions so that they can stay active for as long as possible. The specimen can then be taken out at any time and be used for the identification of harmful chemicals, diseases, and bacteria. The whole purpose is to find a proper way to create a new medicine that can combat diseases.
So there you go, folks! Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the importance of specimen collection as well as the different methods of collecting specimens in the medical field.