Macpac’s proven track record in providing superior functional packaging to major pharmaceutical companies stood them in good stead when they were approached by The University of Cambridge earlier this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic began its spread across the UK.

The University of Cambridge have been working with selected individuals across England who are participating in the TRACK-COVID study, that includes providing blood samples for COVID-19 antibody testing. The brief given to Macpac by the University was to provide a simple but effective way of holding and protecting all parts of the test kit, particularly during transit. 

Macpac’s design team have been providing packaging to major pharmaceutical companies for over 40 years – taking the most demanding briefs and exacting requirements to deliver high quality packaging for an industry that requires an outstanding result – and were able to draw on this wealth of knowledge and experience to quickly come up with a design solution for the manufacture of a bespoke clam pack with dedicated cavities to contain the testing kit.

A resin prototype with precise CNC-engineered cavities was soon created using Macpac’s modern tool room facilities.   Samples were then sent to the University for stringent assessment and testing before receiving the go-ahead to make the aluminium production tool.  This was machined in-house and ran on one of Macpac’s 12 inline thermoforming machines for manufacture of the final clam packs, which were formed in R-PET material that contains up to 86% recycled content and is 100% recyclable through kerb side collections.

Due to the nature of the product and quick turnaround time that was required, the University was able to benefit from the flexibility afforded at Macpac’s Stockport site, where workload can easily be prioritised with the design, tooling and manufacture all taking part under one roof, in a high care BRC AA rated production facility to produce packaging in a safe, controlled environment.

The study is being conducted by researchers from the Department of Public Health & Primary Care at the University of Cambridge and should provide a better understanding of the biological and environmental determinants of the COVID-19 virus, in an effort to determine why some individuals carrying the virus exhibit clear and debilitating symptoms, whilst others are asymptomatic with no outward signs of the virus.