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OCTOBER 7, 2016 – FLORENCE, AZ – Medical samples transported 160+ miles by unmanned aircraft under temperature control in Arizona desert.

Medical drone delivery records were set by Johns Hopkins researchers as they successfully transported human blood samples across 161 miles of desert. Throughout the three-hour flight, the on-board payload system maintained conditions, such as temperature, ensuring the samples were viable for diagnostic analysis upon landing.

In a report about the findings, published ahead of print in the journal American Journal of Clinical Pathology in June print edition, the investigators say the findings add to evidence that unmanned aircraft are an effective, safe, and timely way to quickly transport medical samples from remote patients to laboratories with advanced diagnostic capabilities.

“Drone air transport will be the quickest, safest and most efficient option to deliver biological samples to a laboratory whether it be in a rural or urban setting,” says Timothy Amukele, M.D., Ph.D. “We don’t need to fix 20th Century problems, such as no roads, poor roads or driving vehicles through crowded urban streets to improve patient care. Logistical inefficiencies are an enemy of patient care. Drones will take patient care into the 21st Century by making patient diagnoses quicker and more efficient.”

The study demonstrated real world long distance transport of samples involving several modes of transportation. 84 samples were collected in pairs at the University of Arizona in Tucson and driven 76 miles to an airfield. One sample from each pair was loaded on the drone, which flew them 161 miles. The samples were then driven 62 miles to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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