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Coca-Cola bottlers turn plastic preforms into COVID-19 test kits

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Coca-Cola bottlers in the US will offer plastic bottle preforms to help make up for a global shortfall in test tubes for use in COVID-19 testing kits.

Coca-Cola Consolidated is one of a number of US bottlers involved in the project

Coca-Cola Consolidated is one of a number of US bottlers involved in the project

North Carolina-based Coca-Cola Consolidated yesterday confirmed plans to partner with a group of fellow Coca-Cola bottlers in the country to fund the production of around 7m tubes a week for testing kits. The process uses soda bottle preforms, the small plastic tubes heated and blown into a bottle shape to hold carbonated beverages.

Consolidated said the preforms are the right size to transport the long COVID-19 swab supplied in test kits.

According to COVID-19 testing company Longhorn Vaccine-Diagnostics, there is a global shortage of so-called "cryotubes".

"Coke bottlers have done what no other vialing company could do," said Luke Daum, chief scientific officer at Longhorn Vaccines. "In a few short days, they have fabricated a small, ruggedized vial from a plastic preform that does not leak, is large enough to hold any swab type, and importantly, they can make millions of tubes per week."

The preforms will be manufactured by Southeastern Container, also based in North Carolina, which is a co-operative funded and managed by a group of Coca-Cola bottlers.

Last month, the CFO of The Coca-Cola Co said beverage e-commerce has hit an "inflection point" during the coronavirus pandemic.

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