Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CONTAINER FOR A PHYSIOLOGICAL LIQUID
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/110469
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
It is disclosed a container for a sample of a physiological liquid. The container comprises a collecting body in turn comprising: a lower portion comprising at least two sub-containers having respective openings and being suitable for collecting respective sample portions of the sample, the lower portion further comprising an upper edge interposed between said openings; and an upper portion connected to the lower portion so as to form an annular edge encircling the openings and being substantially flush with the upper edge. The container further comprises a gasket keeper and a gasket fixed thereto, the gasket keeper being conformed so that, when it is housed in the upper portion with the gasket fixed thereto, the gasket leans against the annular edge and the upper edge for hermetically sealing the at least two sub-containers. The container further comprises a cover suitable for engaging with the upper portion for irreversibly closing the container.

Inventors:
LEOPARDI, Francesco (Via Mosé Bianchi 49, Milano, I-20149, IT)
Application Number:
EP2011/053181
Publication Date:
September 15, 2011
Filing Date:
March 03, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LP ITALIANA S.P.A. (Via Carlo Reale, 15/4, Milano, I-20157, IT)
LEOPARDI, Francesco (Via Mosé Bianchi 49, Milano, I-20149, IT)
International Classes:
B01L3/00; A61J1/05
Foreign References:
US4852560A1989-08-01
US20050123931A12005-06-09
EP0968766A22000-01-05
EP0968766A22000-01-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLOMBO, Stefano Paolo et al. (Marchi & Partners S.r.l, Via G.B. Pirelli 19, Milano, I-20124, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

A container (1 ) for a sample of a physiological liquid, comprising:

- a collecting body (2) comprising:

- a lower portion (21 ) comprising at least two sub-containers (241 ) having respective openings and being suitable for collecting respective sample portions of said sample, said lower portion (21 ) further comprising an upper edge (24a) interposed between said openings; and

- an upper portion (22) connected to said lower portion (21 ) so as to form an annular edge (20) encircling said openings and being substantially flush with said upper edge (24a);

- a gasket keeper (3) and a gasket (4) fixed to said gasket keeper (3), said gasket keeper (3) being conformed so that, when said gasket keeper (3) with said gasket (4) fixed thereto is housed in said upper portion (22), said gasket (4) leans against said annular edge (20) and said upper edge (24a) for hermetically sealing said at least two sub- containers (241 ); and

- a cover (5) suitable for engaging with said upper portion (22) for closing said container (1 ).

The container (1 ) according to claim 1 , wherein an overall height of said gasket keeper (3) with said gasket (4) fixed thereto is slightly higher than an height of said upper portion (22) so that, when said gasket keeper (3) with said gasket (4) fixed thereto is housed in said upper portion (22), it slightly protrudes therefrom and so that, when said cover (5) engages with said upper portion (22) for closing said container (1 ), it pushes said gasket keeper (3) with said gasket (4) fixed thereto against said annular edge (20) and said upper edge (24a).

The container (1 ) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said lower portion (21 ) comprises a lower cavity and at least one partition wall (24) dividing said lower cavity into said at least two sub-containers (241 ), said at least one partition wall (24) forming said upper edge (24a). The container (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said gasket keeper (3) comprises at least one divider (32).

The container (1 ) according to claim 4, wherein said upper portion (22) comprises at least one guiding projection (28) arranged on an inner surface of a sidewall (22a) thereof, and wherein said gasket keeper (3) comprises at least one guiding groove (33) arranged on an outer surface of a sidewall (3a) thereof, said at least one guiding groove (33) being configured to engage with said at least one guiding projection (28) when said gasket keeper (3) with said gasket (4) fixed thereto is inserted in said upper portion (22), so that said divider (32) is aligned with said upper edge (24a).

The container (1 ) according to claim 4 or 5, wherein said cover (5) has one or more teeth (54) having a saw-tooth profile and being circumferentially arranged and circumferentially spaced, said one or more teeth (54) being arranged so that, when said gasket keeper (3) with said gasket (4) fixed thereto is housed in said upper portion (22) and said cover (5) engages with said upper portion (22) for closing said container (1 ), an upper edge of said at least one divider (32) leans against said cover (5) in a free space formed next to said one or more teeth (54) so that said cover (5) can not be removed without breaking it.

The container (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said upper portion (22) comprises a first securing eyelet (29a) and said cover (5) comprises a second securing eyelet (55) arranged so that, when said cover (1 ) engages with said upper portion (22) for closing said container (1 ), said second securing eyelet (55) is aligned with said first securing eyelet (29a).

The container (1 ) according to claim 7, wherein it further comprises a securing seal (7) suitable for being inserted in said first securing eyelet (29a) and in said second securing eyelet (55) aligned with said first securing eyelet (29a) when said cover (5) engages with said upper portion (22) for closing said container (1 ).

9. The container (1 ) according to claim 8, wherein said securing seal (7) comprises a hook (70) and a case (72) suitable for housing said hook (70), wherein said hook (70) comprises a fixed arm (701 ) and a movable arm (702) connected to said fixed arm (701 ) in a pivotal manner between a rest position and a contracted position, and wherein said case (72) comprises an inlet opening (721 ) and an enlarged portion (722), said inlet opening (721 ) having a width lower than a maximum width of said hook (70) when said movable arm (703) is in said rest position, said fixed arm (701 ) having a hole (704) suitable for weakening said fixed arm (701 ). 10. The container (1 ) according to claim 9, wherein each of said collecting body (2), said gasket keeper (3), said cover (5) and said securing seal (7) are integral pieces moulded from plastic materials, said plastic materials being selected from: polypropylene, polystyrene, high-density polyethylene.

1 1 . The container (1 ) according to claim 9 or 10, wherein a same unique series number is engraved within a thickness of a portion of said collecting body (2), said gasket keeper (3), said cover (5) and said securing seals (7).

12. The container (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said lower portion (21 ) comprises at least two opening protrusions (26) extending towards the exterior of said lower portion (21 ), each of said at least two opening protrusions (26) having a weakening line defining a removable portion of said each of at least two opening protrusions (26), said weakening line easing removal of said removable portion for taking a sample portion from a respective one of said at least two sub-containers (241 ).

13. A kit comprising a container (1 ) for a physiological liquid according to claim 12, and an opening key (6) suitable for removing one of said at least two opening protrusions (26) for taking a sample portion from a corresponding one of said at least two sub-containers (241 ).

14. The kit according to claim 13, wherein said removable portion of each of said at least two opening protrusions (26) has a plurality of first cogs (26a) arranged on its outer surface, said first cogs (26a) being circumferentially arranged and uniformly spaced on said outer surface. 15. The kit according to claim 14, wherein said opening key (6) comprises a handle (61 ) and a head (62), said head (62) comprising a plurality of second cogs (64) arranged on an inner surface of its sidewall, said plurality of second cogs (64) being configured to engage with said plurality of first cogs (26a) for transmitting a rotation imparted on said opening key (6) by means of said handle (61 ) to one of said at least two opening protrusions (26), thereby twisting it and causing the detachment of said removable portion of said one of at least two opening protrusions (26) along said weakening line.

Description:
CONTAINER FOR A PHYSIOLOGICAL LIQUID

Technical Field

The present invention generally relates to the field of laboratory instrumentations and apparatuses for chemical/physical analyses. In particular, the present invention relates to a container for a physiological liquid, and a kit comprising said container for a physiological liquid.

Background Art

It is known using containers for collecting physiological liquids (e.g. urine, blood, etc.) and storing them for the purpose of performing analyses, for example anti-doping tests, medical analyses, etc.

In particular, as far as anti-doping tests are concerned, at the end of a competition, for each athlete that is subjected to anti-doping tests, a sample of physiological liquid is typically collected and divided in several sample portions in order to guarantee the possibility of performing successive counter-analyses of the same sample. Different sample portions can be collected in different containers. Typically, each container is individually sealed and marked under the supervision of an inspection body.

Alternatively, EP 0 968 766 discloses a container for liquids, in particular for the analysis of biological liquids, comprising a main body constituted by an open-top chamber and a plurality of cup-shaped parts, which axially protrude from the bottom of the chamber, ending at their lower end with a closed narrower portion. Each cup-shaped part is suitable for collecting a respective portion of a biological liquid sample. During testing, any one of the narrower portions is cut and its content is sampled. The container further comprises an intermediate closure element which can be housed into the chamber and which is in turn provided with tubular parts. The shape and dimension of the tubular parts is such that they fit hermetically in the cup-shaped parts during the coupling of the intermediate element on the main body.

Summary of the invention The container for liquids disclosed in EP 0 968 766 has some drawbacks. In particular, the Applicant has noticed that a container fabricated according to the teachings of EP 0 968 766 can not prevent the liquid from spilling out of the cup-shaped part, because it does not provide an hermetic fitting between the intermediate closure element and the main body.

Indeed, for providing an hermetic fitting, the shape and size of the tubular parts should perfectly match with the shape and size of the cup-shaped parts. However, such a perfect matching is not practically feasible.

Moreover, disadvantageously, the container of EP 0 968 766 can be easily tampered (e.g. for altering or replacing its content), and the tampering can not be noticed upon inspection of the container. Indeed, for tampering the container it is sufficient removing possible seals applied by the inspection body, while for making the tampering not noticeable it is sufficient applying new seals to the container after its content has been altered or replaced.

Further, disadvantageously, the container stands in vertical position on the narrower portions of the cup-shaped parts. Therefore, when one of the narrower portions is cut during testing, the container is no more able to maintain its vertical position.

Accordingly, the present invention tackles the problem of providing a container for a physiological liquid which overcomes at least one of the aforesaid drawbacks. In particular, the present invention tackles the problem of providing a container for a physiological liquid which guarantees that the physiological liquid is hermetically stored in the container.

According to a first aspect, the present invention provides a container for a sample of a physiological liquid, comprising:

- a collecting body comprising:

- a lower portion comprising at least two sub-containers having respective openings and being suitable for collecting respective sample portions of the sample, the lower portion further comprising an upper edge interposed between the openings; and

- an upper portion connected to the lower portion so as to form an annular edge encircling the openings and being substantially flush with the upper edge;

- a gasket keeper and a gasket fixed to the gasket keeper, the gasket keeper being conformed so that, when the gasket keeper with the gasket fixed thereto is housed in the upper portion, the gasket leans against the annular edge and the upper edge for hermetically sealing the at least two sub-containers; and

- a cover suitable for engaging with the upper portion for closing the container.

Preferably, an overall height of the gasket keeper with the gasket fixed thereto is slightly higher than an height of the upper portion so that, when the gasket keeper with the gasket fixed thereto is housed in the upper portion, it slightly protrudes therefrom and so that, when the cover engages with the upper portion for closing the container, it pushes the gasket keeper with the gasket fixed thereto against the annular edge and the upper edge.

Preferably, the lower portion comprises a lower cavity and at least one partition wall dividing the lower cavity into the at least two sub-containers, the at least one partition wall forming the upper edge.

Preferably, the gasket keeper comprises at least one divider.

Preferably, the upper portion comprises at least one guiding projection arranged on an inner surface of a sidewall thereof, and the gasket keeper comprises at least one guiding groove arranged on an outer surface of a sidewall thereof, the at least one guiding groove being configured to engage with the at least one guiding projection when the gasket keeper with the gasket fixed thereto is inserted in the upper portion, so that the divider is aligned with the upper edge.

Preferably, the cover has one or more teeth having a saw-tooth profile and being circumferentially arranged and circumferentially spaced, the one or more teeth being arranged so that, when the gasket keeper with the gasket fixed thereto is housed in the upper portion and the cover engages with the upper portion for closing the container, an upper edge of the at least one divider of the gasket keeper leans against the cover in a free space formed next to the one or more teeth. Preferably, the upper portion comprises a first securing eyelet and the cover comprises a second securing eyelet arranged so that, when the cover engages with the upper portion for closing the container, the second securing eyelet is aligned with the first securing eyelet.

Preferably, the container further comprises a securing seal suitable for being inserted in the first securing eyelet and in the second securing eyelet aligned with the first securing eyelet when the cover engages with the upper portion for closing the container.

Preferably, the securing seal comprises a hook and a case suitable for housing the hook, wherein the hook comprises a fixed arm and a movable arm connected to the fixed arm in a pivotal manner between a rest position and a contracted position, and wherein the case comprises an inlet opening and an enlarged portion, the inlet opening having a width lower than a maximum width of the hook when the movable arm is in the rest position, the fixed arm having a hole suitable for weakening the fixed arm.

Preferably, each of the collecting body, the gasket keeper, the cover and the securing seal is an integral piece moulded from a plastic material, the plastic material being selected from: polypropylene, polystyrene, high-density polyethylene.

Preferably, a same unique series number is engraved within a thickness of a portion of the collecting body, the gasket keeper, the cover and the securing seal.

Preferably, the lower portion comprises at least two opening protrusions extending towards the exterior of the lower portion, each of the at least two opening protrusions having a weakening line defining a removable portion of each of the at least two opening protrusions, the weakening line easing removal of the removable portion for taking a sample portion from a respective one of the at least two sub-containers.

According to a second aspect thereof, the present invention provides a kit comprising a container for a physiological liquid as set forth above, and an opening key suitable for removing one of the at least two opening protrusions for taking a sample portion from a corresponding one of the at least two sub- containers.

Preferably, the removable portion of each of the at least two opening protrusions has a plurality of first cogs arranged on its outer surface, the first cogs being circumferentially arranged and uniformly spaced on the outer surface.

Preferably, the opening key comprises a handle and a head, the head comprising a plurality of second cogs arranged on an inner surface of its sidewall, the plurality of second cogs being configured to engage with the plurality of first cogs for transmitting a rotation imparted on the opening key by means of the handle to one of the at least two opening protrusions, thereby twisting it and causing a detachment of the removable portion of said one of the at least two opening protrusions along the weakening line.

Brief description of the drawings

Embodiments of the invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description, given by way of example and not of limitation, to be read with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

- Figure 1 is an exploded view of the container for a physiological liquid according to an embodiment of the present invention;

- Figure 2 is a cross-sectional view of the container of Figure 1 in assembled configuration;

- Figure 3 is a perspective view of the container of Figure 1 in assembled configuration;

- Figure 4 is an axonometric view of an opening key suitable for opening the container of Figure 1 ; and

- Figure 5 is an enlarged axonometric view of a securing seal of the container.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention

Figures 1 -3 show a container 1 for a physiological liquid according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The Figures are not in scale. The container 1 for a physiological liquid preferably comprises a collecting body 2, a gasket keeper 3, a gasket 4 and a cover 5. The collecting body 2 preferably comprises a lower portion 21 and an upper portion 22. The lower portion 21 and the upper portion 22 are connected each other.

The lower portion 21 has a substantially cylindrical sidewall 21 a defining a lower cavity and a lower base 21 b closing the lower cavity at a lower end thereof. The upper portion 22 has a substantially cylindrical sidewall 22a defining an upper cavity. The diameter of the upper portion 22 is preferably higher than the diameter of the lower portion 21 , so that at the junction between the upper portion 22 and the lower portion 21 an annular edge 20 is formed.

Preferably, the lower portion 21 comprises at least one partition wall configured to divide the lower cavity into at least two sub-containers. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the lower portion 21 comprises two partition walls 24 intersecting each other, thereby dividing the lower cavity into four sub-containers 241 (see Figure 2). Preferably, the partition walls 24 intersect each other at right angles, so that the four sub-containers 241 have a substantially identical cross section. The two partition walls 24 preferably extend longitudinally from the lower base 21 b to the annular edge 20, so that their upper edges 24a are substantially flush with the annular edge 20, namely they are horizontally aligned with the annular edge 20. When a physiological liquid sample is collected in the collecting body 2, it splits up so that each sub-container 241 contains a respective sample portion of the physiological liquid.

Therefore, instead of providing separated parts for collecting the various sample portions, in the container 1 the sub-containers 241 suitable for collecting the sample portions are obtained within the lower cavity by means of one or more partition walls. This has a number of advantages. First of all, the collecting body 2 has a capacity higher than the container disclosed in EP 0 968 766, the overall size being equal. Moreover, advantageously, the collecting body 2 (and thus the overall container 1 ) is more rigid and stable.

Preferably, the lower portion 21 comprises, at each sub-container 241 , a respective opening protrusion extending towards the exterior of the collecting body 2 and being connected to the lower base 21 b. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the lower base 21 b forms four opening protrusions 26, each being located at one end of the four sub-containers 241 . Each opening protrusion 26 is substantially in the form of a hollow cylinder. Further, each opening protrusion 26 comprises a sidewall having a circumferential weakening line (not visible in the drawings) defining a removable portion of the opening protrusion 26. Preferably, the weakening line is arranged at about half height of the opening protrusion sidewall. This facilitates the pouring of the corresponding sample portion. Preferably, the removable portion of each opening protrusion 26 exhibits a plurality of first cogs 26a (for example ten first cogs 26a) arranged on its outer surface. Preferably, the first cogs 26a are circumferentially arranged and uniformly spaced on the outer surface.

Moreover, preferably, the lower base 21 b has a number of feet 27. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the lower base 21 b has four feet 27. The feet 27 are preferably aligned with the partition walls 24. More preferably, the feet 27 are formed by two supporting ridges with a shaped profile, which protrude from the lower base 21 b and which are substantially aligned with the partition walls 24.

Preferably, for each of the four sub-containers 241 , the outer surface of the lower base 21 b exhibits a respective identifying number (not visible in the drawings). For example, the identifying numbers may be "1 ", "2", "3" and "4".

Preferably, the sidewall 22a of the upper portion 22 has at least one guiding projection on its inner surface. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the sidewall 22a has four guiding projections 28 vertically extending from the annular edge 20 and preferably aligned with the partition walls 24.

Preferably, the sidewall 22a has an annular wing 29 protruding from its outer surface in a direction perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the upper portion 22. Such annular wing 29 preferably forms two first securing eyelets 29a at two diametrically opposed positions thereof. Above the annular wing 29, the outer surface of the sidewall 22a has a first thread 25.

Preferably, the collecting body 2 (included the identifying numbers on the outer surface of the lower base 21 b) is an integral piece moulded from a plastic material, for example polypropylene. A leak-proof test is preferably performed after moulding, on the sealing of the weakening lines of the opening protrusions 26.

The gasket keeper 3 preferably comprises a substantially cylindrical sidewall 3a defining a central cavity and a base 3b closing the central cavity substantially at one of its ends. In particular, the base 3b is slightly hollowed with respect to the sidewall 3a, so as to form a circular housing.

The gasket 4 is preferably circular and is housed in the circular housing formed by the sidewall 3a and the base 3b of the gasket keeper 3. The thickness of the gasket 4 is higher than the housing's depth, so that it partially protrudes from the housing (as it is shown in Figure 2). The gasket 4 is preferably fixed to the base 3b of the gasket keeper 3. For example, the gasket 4 may be glued to the base 3b of the gasket keeper 3 by a hot melt adhesive for food. Preferably, the gasket 4 is of a plastic material, for example an expanded polyethylene .

Preferably, the external diameter of the sidewall 3a is slightly smaller than the internal diameter of the sidewall 22a. Further, the overall height of the gasket keeper 3 with the gasket 4 fixed thereto is slightly higher than the height of the sidewall 22a so that, when the gasket keeper 3 with the gasket 4 fixed thereto is housed in the upper cavity of the upper portion 22, it slightly protrudes from such upper cavity. This allows the cover 5 pressing the gasket keeper 3 (and then the gasket 4) against the annular edge 20 and the upper edges 24a of the partition walls 24, as it will be described in further detail herein after.

Preferably, the gasket keeper 3 comprises at least one divider. More preferably, the gasket keeper 3 comprises a number of dividers equal to the number of partition walls 24 comprised in the lower portion 21 of the collecting body 2, and having a mutual arrangement substantially equal to that of the partition walls 24. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the gasket keeper 3 thus comprises two dividers 32 intersecting each other substantially at right angles. Preferably, at the intersection point of the dividers 32, the gasket keeper 3 comprises a hollow cylinder 31 . The hollow cylinder 31 advantageously increases the mechanical stiffness and stability of the gasket keeper 3.

Preferably, the sidewall 3a has at least one guiding groove on its outer surface. More preferably, the sidewall 3a has a number of guiding grooves equal to the number of guiding projections 28 on the inner surface of the sidewall 22a. The guiding grooves are preferably arranged so that their position relative to the dividers 32 is substantially identical to the position of the guiding projections 28 relative to the partition walls 24. Therefore, in the embodiment shown in the drawings, the sidewall 3a has four guiding grooves 33 placed at the positions wherein the two dividers 32 join the sidewall 3a.

The guiding grooves 33 are configured to engage with the guiding projections 28 when the gasket keeper 3 is inserted into the upper cavity of the upper portion 22 of the collecting body 2. The engagement between the guiding projections 28 and the guiding grooves 33 advantageously allows keeping the dividers 32 aligned with the partition walls 24, as it will be described in further detail herein after.

Preferably, the gasket keeper 3 is an integral piece moulded from a plastic material. Preferably, the plastic material used to mould the gasket keeper 3 is a rigid plastic material, such as for instance polystyrene.

Preferably, the cover 5 is cylindrical and has a sidewall 5a and a base 5b.

The sidewall 5a comprises, on its inner surface, a second thread 53 configured to match with the first thread 25 of the sidewall 22a of the upper portion 22. The first thread 25 and the second thread 53 are configured to cooperate in order to allow screwing the cover 5 on the collecting body 2, so as to close the container 1 . To this purpose, the internal diameter of the cover 5 is slightly higher than the external diameter of the sidewall 22a of the upper portion 22. Moreover, preferably, the external diameter of the cover 5 is substantially equal to the external diameter of the annular wing 29. This advantageously allows the annular wing 29 to inferiorly close the annular space that may be formed between the cover 5 and the collecting body 2.

Preferably, the sidewall 5a is shaped so as to form a plurality of grip projections 52 on its outer surface. Such grip projections 52 advantageously improve the gripping on the cover 5 by a user.

Moreover, preferably, the sidewall 5a has, on its outer surface, two second securing eyelets 55 placed at two diametrically opposed positions. The two second securing eyelets 55 preferably have the same size and shape as the first securing eyelets 29a. Moreover, preferably, the second securing eyelets 55 have a position relative to the second thread 53 such that, when the cover 5 is completely screwed on the collecting body 2, they are aligned with the first securing eyelets 29a.

Preferably, the base 5b comprises, on its inner surface, one or more teeth with a saw-tooth profile. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the base 5b comprises four circumferentially arranged teeth 54 having a saw-tooth circumferential profile. The teeth 54 are circumferentially spaced. When the gasket keeper 3 with the gasket 4 fixed thereto is inserted in the collecting body 2 and the cover 5 is screwed on it, the upper edges of the dividers 32 lean against the base 5b in the free spaces formed between each tooth 54 and its adjacent teeth 54.

Preferably, the cover 5 is an integral piece moulded from a plastic material. Preferably, the plastic material used to mould the cover 5 is high-density polyethylene.

Preferably, a same unique series number is engraved within the thickness of a portion of the collecting body 2, the gasket keeper 3 and the cover 5 forming the container 1 (not shown in the drawings) and possibly on two special designed seals to be described below. This advantageously allows univocally identifying the components of a container 1 , so as to prevent the replacement of one or more components of the container 1 with the purpose of altering its content.

In the following, the use of the container 1 to collect, store and successively extract a sample portion of a physiological liquid (for the purpose of chemical/physical analyses) will be described.

The sample of physiological liquid is first of all collected within the collecting body 2, so that it splits up in four sample portions, each contained in a respective sub-container 241 .

Then, the gasket keeper 3 is brought close to the opening of the collecting body 2 with the gasket 4 fixed thereto facing the opening, and it is rotated till each of the four guiding projections 28 of the upper portion 22 of the collecting body 2 engages with a respective guiding groove 33 of the gasket keeper 3. Then, the gasket keeper 3 is pushed into the upper portion 22 until the gasket 4 leans against the annular edge 20 and the upper edges 24a of the partition walls 24. In this situation, the dividers 32 of the gasket keeper 3 are aligned with the partition walls 24.

Then, the cover 5 is screwed on the collecting body 2. When the cover 5 is completely screwed down, its base 5b pushes the gasket keeper 3 that in turn pushes the gasket 4 against the annular edge 20 and the upper edges 24a of the partition walls 24. In particular, the thrusting force exerted by the base 5b is transmitted to the gasket 4 by the dividers 32 and the sidewall 3a of the gasket keeper 3. Further, the upper edges of the dividers 32 lean against the base 5b in the free spaces formed between each tooth 54 and its adjacent teeth 54.

Advantageously, the gasket 4, which is pushed against the annular edge 20 and the upper edges 24a of the partition walls 24 by the sidewall 3a and the partitions 32 of the gasket keeper 3, guarantees an hermetic sealing. Indeed, advantageously, the gasket 4 closes each sub-container 241 of the collecting body 2 along the entire perimeter of its opening. The sealing is further improved by the fact that the dividers 32 of the gasket keeper 3 are aligned with the partition walls 24. Indeed, the pressure applied on the gasket 4 is not only concentrated along the perimeter of the gasket 4 (which presses against the annular edge 20), but it is distributed also along two lines which cross the gasket surface and which coincide with the upper edges 24a of the partition walls 24.

Advantageously, the teeth 54 guarantee that the cover 5, once entirely screwed on the collecting body 2, can not be removed without breaking the dividers 32 and/or the cover 5 itself. This reduces the risk that the container 1 is opened, accidentally or intentionally, and that its content is altered (for example, it can be replaced or it can be added with additional substances suitable for falsifying the results of the analyses).

When the cover 5 is completely screwed down, the first securing eyelets 29a and the second securing eyelets 55 are mutually aligned. It is thus possible to insert securing seals 7 (shown in Figure 5) in these eyelets, in order to close the container 1 so that possible successive tampering of the container 1 becomes evident.

Figure 5 shows in detail a securing seal 7, according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

The securing seal 7 preferably comprises a hook 70, a plate 71 from which the hook 70 projects, a case 72 and an interconnecting element 73 interconnecting the plate 71 and the case 72. The hook 70 preferably comprises a fixed arm 701 connected to the plate 71 and a movable arm 703 pivotally connected to the fixed arm 701 . The fixed arm 701 forms a recess 702 and has a hole 704. The movable arm 703 may be moved between a rest position (shown in Figure 5) and a contracted position (not shown in the drawings) where the movable arm 703 is brought into the recess 702. The case 72 preferably has an inlet opening 721 and an enlarged portion 722. The inlet opening 721 preferably has a width lower than the maximum width of the hook 70 when the movable arm 703 is in its rest position. The securing seal 7 is preferably an integral piece moulded from a flexible plastic material, such as for instance polypropylene. Preferably, a pair of securing seals 7 is specifically fabricated for being uniquely associated to the container 1 . The same unique series number engraved within the collecting body 2, the gasket keeper 3 and the cover 5 is preferably engraved also within the thickness of the plate 71 of the specifically fabricated securing seals 7.

For closing the container 1 so that any possible tampering of the container 1 becomes evident, the hook 70 is passed through one of the first securing eyelets 29a and the second securing eyelets 55 aligned thereto. Then, the hook 70 is pushed into the case 72 through the inlet opening 721 by exerting a pressure on the plate 71 . While the hook 70 passes through the inlet opening 721 , the movable arm 703 is pressed against the fixed arm 701 and is brought into its contracted position. When the hook 70 reaches the enlarged portion 722, pressure on the movable arm 703 is released, so that it moves away from the fixed arm 701 into its rest position.

Advantageously, the securing seal 7 can not be opened without breaking it, since the hook 70 can not be extracted from the case 72. This is due to the fact that, once the hook 70 is housed in the enlarged portion 722, the enlarged portion 722 acts as a stop for the movable arm 703 in its rest position, and then for the whole hook 70. It should be noticed that the securing seal 7 can not be removed by simply cutting the interconnecting element 73, since the first securing eyelets 29a and the second securing eyelets 55 are blocked between the plate 71 and the case 72. Besides, the hole 704 provided in the fixed arm 701 makes the hook 70 fragile. Therefore, if one tries to remove the securing seal 7 by forcedly extracting the hook 70 from the case 72 with the purpose of tampering the container 1 , the hook 70 easily breaks, and advantageously makes evident the attempted tampering. Once forcedly extracted and broken, the hook 70 can neither be repaired nor reintroduced into the case 72. On the other hand, even if one replaces the broken securing seal 7 with a new securing seal, the attempted tampering is still evident, since the unique series number engraved within such new securing seal is certainly different from the unique series number of the other components of the container 1 .

When one wishes to analyze one of the sample portions contained in the container 1 , for example the sample portion contained in the sub-container 241 marked with number "1 ", one has to break the opening protrusion 26 which corresponds to the sub-container 241 marked with number "1 ". This breaking creates a first opening in the base 21 b, through which the sample portion contained in such sub-container 241 can be extracted. The opening protrusion 26 can be broken by means of a suitable opening key, which will be described in detail hereinafter. Advantageously, the three remaining sample portions are still sealingly stored in their respective sub-containers 241 (marked with numbers "2", "3", "4"), and cannot exit the container 1 through the first created opening. If, successively, one wishes to analyze another sample portion stored within the container 1 (for example, the sample portion contained in the sub- container 241 marked with number "2"), one has to break the opening protrusion 26 which corresponds to the sub-container 241 marked with number "2". This breaking creates a second opening in the base 21 b, through which the sample portion contained in such sub-container 241 can be extracted. Advantageously, the two remaining sample portions are still sealingly stored in their respective sub-containers 241 (marked with numbers "3", "4"), and cannot exit the container 1 through the first and second created openings.

Advantageously, thanks to the feet 27, the container 1 is able to maintain a vertical position even when one or more opening protrusions 26 are broken.

Figure 4 shows an opening key 6 suitable for breaking one or more opening protrusions 26 of the collecting body 2 in order to extract the sample portions contained therein.

The opening key 6 preferably comprises an elongated handle 61 and a head 62. The head 62 is in the form of a hollow cylinder having a sidewall 62a defining a central cavity. Preferably, the sidewall 62a has second cogs 64 (for example, ten second cogs 64) arranged on its inner surface and configured to match with the first cogs 26a of the removable portion of the opening protrusions 26.

Preferably, the opening key 6 is an integral piece moulded from a plastic material.

In order to break one of the opening protrusions 26, the opening key 2 is leaned on the removable portion of the opening protrusion 26 to be broken, and it is rotated until the second cogs 64 engage with the first cogs 26a and the removable portion of the opening protrusion 26 is housed in the central cavity of the head 62. The opening key 6 is then rotated so that the rotation of the second cogs 64 is transmitted to the first cogs 26a, thereby twisting the opening protrusion 26 and causing the detachment of its removable portion along the respective weakening line. This detachment forms an opening in the base 21 b of the lower portion 21 , through which the sample portion of the physiological liquid can be extracted.

Advantageously, the opening key 6 (thanks to the second cogs 64 matching with the first cogs 26a on removable portion of the opening protrusions 26) allows to easily break the opening protrusions 26, with a minimum effort by the user. Moreover, it guarantees that the removable portion of the opening protrusion 26 is completely detached from the collecting body 2 along the weakening line, thus avoiding that some residuals of the plastic material of the protrusion itself remain attached to the edges of the opening and partially obstruct the opening.