Danish Biotech Reduces Vaccine Testing Time from Two Days to One Hour Using a ProtoCOL System to Assess Vaccine Potency
12 Nov 2008

Synbiosis, a world-leading manufacturer of automated microbiological systems, is delighted to announce that ACE BioSciences, a Danish biotech developing innovative vaccines, is using a ProtoCOL automated colony counter to significantly speed up potency testing of its novel pneumococcal vaccines.

The ProtoCOL system at ACE BioSciences, is being used in pre-clinical trials to rapidly count the numbers of surviving Streptococcus pneumoniae colonies plated on modified Todd-Hewitt agar plates, post OPKA (in vitro opsonophagocytic-killing assay). This is saving researchers at ACE hours of repetitive counting, as well as improving the accuracy of results by eliminating errors, which can occur when having to enumerate large numbers of colonies and manually key in results.

Dr Tim Schmitter, an Immunologist at ACE BioSciences stated: “We have to count around 70-120 colonies per sample and we have 288 samples in each run to assess all the serotypes of each pneumococcal vaccine we want to test. Counting 20-30,000 colonies was taking myself and another scientist six hours using a heavy semi-automated counting pen and then we also had to type the results into Excel.”

Dr Schmitter added: “Since we installed the ProtoCOL last year, in just one hour, one scientist can complete two days of counts. This is not easy because colonies are sometimes the size of a pinhead and are close together, yet the ProtoCOL does this with ease to provide highly reproducible data. The best thing is the results are automatically transferred into Excel, which allows us to perform statistical analysis straight away. We are so pleased with the performance of the ProtoCOL we are soon going to extend its use to evaluate another vaccine against a different organism.”

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