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28th April 2020  Content supplied by: INTEGRA Biosciences AG

Automated RT-PCR Set-Up for COVID-19 Testing

The emergence and outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) has placed unprecedented demands on laboratories testing for COVID-19, leaving scientific staff to contend with a spiraling influx of patient samples and a rapid, continuous growth in workload.

Laboratories need additional automated liquid handling instruments for viral nucleic acid extraction and RT-PCR set-up - which are the most labor-intensive processes in the diagnostic testing workflow - to increase the sample throughput capacity, reduce manual intervention by laboratory analysts and fast track the development of COVID-19 assays.

The ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot together with a VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette, Low Retention GripTips, and SureFlo™ 10 ml Reagent Reservoirs were successfully used for RT-PCR set-up in COVID-19 testing laboratories.

In a recent study, a protocol was developed to use the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot to automate the testing of suspected COVID-19 positive cases in a 384 well plate. The benefits of using the protocol are:

  • increased sample processing capacity.
  • reproducible, precise, and accurate pipetting results
  • increased sample processing capacity
  • a reduced need for manual intervention by laboratory personnel
  • fast track assay development for COVID-19 testing
  • less use of costly reagents
  • The simple and fast ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot combined with the easy-to-use VIALAB software, offers immediate help for testing labs.
  • While the current protocol uses 384 well plates, it can be readily adapted to 96 well format to meet future needs.
  • Thanks to the VIALAB software, the pipetting programs can be easily adapted to any specific protocols and labware.

Read the full procedure based on the protocol used by the Microbiology and Molecular Pathology Department at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) - part of the Sonic Healthcare Group - in Brisbane, Australia.

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Date Published: 28th April 2020

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