AU Clinical Pharmacology Primate Sample Submission Instructions 

Primate Sample Submission Instructions (PDF)

Important notes

  • Primate samples fall under UN3733 “Biological Substance, Category B” regulations. Patient specimens with minimal likelihood of containing pathogens are classified as “Exempt animal specimens” as long as the following requirements are met.
  • Do NOT include samples from other species (i.e. feline, canine, etc.) in the shipment of primate samples.
  • The primate (human or non-human) submission form must be used. This may be found on our website at, or requested by phone (334-844-7187) or email ( Any samples received without this completed form will not be processed.
  • These protocols are designed to prevent any unintentional handler contamination by primate sample blood. The additional precautions may seem inconvenient, but even healthy primates may be carriers of pathogens deadly to humans, so careful containment is important to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the shipping and handling of these samples.

Package components

  1. Sample/Inner container (primary container)
  2. Layer of absorbent material (between primary and secondary containers)
  3. Outer container (secondary container)
  4. Submission Form
  5. Shipping container
  1. Inner container (primary container):
    a. Place sample in a leak-proof primary container. Typical leak-proof primary containers include a glass or plastic vial with the screw cap or stopper secured with tape or Parafilm (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Inner Container (Primary Container) Examples 
  1. Layer of absorbent material:
    a. Place absorbent material (see Figure 2) around primary container. This must be placed between the primary and secondary packaging.

    b. Include enough absorbent material to absorb the entire contents of the inner sample container in the event of a leak.

    c. Samples should be individually wrapped or separated to prevent contact between them.
Figure 2: Absorbent Material Examples 
  1. Outer container (secondary container):
    a. Place primary sample container and absorbent material inside the secondary container. Suitable secondary containers include sealed plastic bags, plastic containers, or canisters with screw-on caps (see Figure 3).

    b. The secondary container should be designed such that in the event that the contents of the internal (primary container) leak during transit, no leakage should occur outside the secondary container.

    c. Do NOT place the submission form or any other pertinent paperwork within the secondary container. The submission form should be outside the secondary container so that it will be protected if the primary sample container leaks.

    d. A detailed and accurate description of the material being sent, with species identification (i.e. “non-infectious non-human primate sample” or “non-infectious human samples”) must be included on the outside of the secondary container. It is acceptable to put the label such that it does not appear on the outside of the shipping container, but the shipping container must be marked “Exempt animal specimen.”
Figure 3: Outer Container (Secondary Container) Examples 
  1. Shipping container:
    a. Place all paperwork in the shipping container, outside the primary and secondary packaging.

    b. Use rigid outer packaging. Possible examples include corrugated fiberboard, wood, metal, and plastic (see Figure 4). Chipboard and paperboard boxes are NOT acceptable.

    c. The shipping container must be strong enough to withstand leakage of contents, shocks, pressure changes, humidity, vibrations, and passage through mechanical equipment such as cancellation machines, sorters, conveyors, etc.
Figure 4: Shipping Container Examples 

Additional Resources:

FedEx: How to Ship Clinical Samples

UPS: Shipping Biological Substances FAQs

USPS: Packaging Instruction 6H Exempt Human or Animal Specimens