Are More Shortages On the Way?

, Are More Shortages On the Way?
If you work in a lab or purchase on behalf of one, I’m sure you will have experienced shortages or delays on one or many of the products you buy over the last 12 months. The huge increase in global demand due to COVID-19 testing has put a strain on everything from PPE to robotic tips and seemingly everything in between. Unfortunately, there is potentially another storm coming in the form of Test To Release. 
The UK Government has outlined 17th May as the date that overseas holidays are possible again, as part of the traffic light system. On average over 7 million people travel abroad every month during the Summer and with most UK residents not having the opportunity to travel for over 12 months this number could be higher than ever!
Government regulations state that you must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test to travel from the UK and, for amber and red countries, 2 more upon return on day 2 and day 8. This equates to a potential 21 million COVID tests each month which will once again put a huge strain on the supply of associated testing products. Let’s take a look at the workflow to try and predict which products we should look to stock up on:  
, Are More Shortages On the Way?

Collection Method: 

  • 1 x Swab or saliva tube 
  • 1 x Transport Tube and Media 

Viral extraction* (per sample): 

  • 3 x 1.5ml Centrifuge tubes  
  • 6 x 200ul Tips  
  • 5 x 1000ul Tips  

Consumables required per PCR run (for 96 wells): 

  • 2 x 200ul Tips  
  • 4 x 1000ul Tips  
  • 96 x 10ul Tips  
  • 2 x 20ul Tips  
  • 3 x 1.5ml Tube  
  • 1 x 96-well PCR Plate  
  • 1 x PCR Plate Seal  
Methods will vary across the accredited laboratories, but the workflow above highlights the huge demand this will put on the supply of associated products and that’s not even taking into account the additional PPE and waste disposal products required. In total there is the potential for over 21 million swabs, 168 million 200ul tips, and 218,750 PCR plates and seals to be used every month just for test to release purposes, this will put a huge strain on the supply of these products to non-COVID labs – if you are using these products for your project or routine work, I urge you to stock up now! 
Appleton Woods has heeded this warning and worked hard to get stocks in place ready for any eventuality. There is stock of the following in-demand consumables, reagents, and equipment in our warehouse ready to ship and more on the ocean set to arrive in May, June, and July. This stock won’t be available for very long, so we strongly advise you to secure the products you require for your work now to avoid delays. Typical expiry dates on plastics are over 4 years and reagents 2 years so there is little chance these products will be wasted. 
Take a look at the in-stock products below:
 The threat of a variant evading the current vaccine options is a real threat and therefore the UK Government has taken the necessary steps to ensure positive COVID PCR’s are also sequenced putting further strain on products that, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t have such huge pressure on their supply.
appMag PCR Clean Up Beads Bottle and Box
As well as the associated plasticware and small equipment for NGS, a further product that Appleton Woods can help with is PCR clean-up beads used in library preparation. appMag Beads require no change of protocol from the market-leading brands and, unusually for “COVID times”, can actually offer a saving over other manufacturers. Speak to our Reagent Portfolio Manager; Dr Stewart Sale for more information (
As with any commodity, as demand increases and supply becomes scarce, prices tend to increase, and unfortunately, this is something we have been all too familiar with over the pandemic. The next spike may yet trigger further price increases from raw material suppliers – yet another reason to stock up now! 
Contact us here to discuss your requirements and how we can help you prepare.
Doing COVID Testing? – Visit our workflow solutions page to see the products we can help you with

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