Can Drones be Used for the Routine Transport of Blood and Sputum Laboratory Specimens?


This paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology on August 2016.



Timothy K. Amukele, Jeff Street, Heather Miller, Karen Carroll, Sean Zhang

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland

Executive Summary

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could potentially be used to transport microbiological specimens. To examine the impact of UAVs on microbiological specimens, blood and sputum culture specimens were seeded with usual pathogens and flown in a UAV for 30 ± 2 min. Times to recovery, colony counts, morphologies, and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS)-based identifications of the flown and stationary specimens were similar for all microbes studied.