The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on clinical research and diagnostic laboratories to process more samples, much more quickly. Time has become one of the most valuable resources for these laboratories, and throughput needs to be significantly increased to handle the greater workload, which many labs do not currently have the capacity to handle. PCR is the method of choice for the identification of acute SARS-CoV-2 infections, as it is both reliable and sensitive. However, the workflow is both costly and labor-intensive, requiring time-consuming extraction of viral RNA, followed by precise mixing of low-volume samples and expensive PCR reagents.
Processing more, faster
One of the first bottlenecks in the workflow for many labs is the large number of patient samples that need to be transferred from nasal/throat swab tubes to microplates or other labware formats prior to RNA extraction for PCR screening. INTEGRA’s VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes are ideally suited to this task, automatically adjusting tip spacing between different types of labware at the touch of a button. This allows extremely fast, simultaneous reformatting of up to 12 samples from swab tubes to plates, without the errors associated with a single channel pipette. Labs looking to further increase their throughput can even combine the VOYAGER with an ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot, bringing together the speed of multichannel pipetting and the convenience of walk-away automation at a price that almost any lab can afford.
Efficient viral extraction
Once samples are in a microplate format, the compact VIAFLO 96/384 handheld electronic pipette can simultaneously transfer 96 or 384 samples at a time, making it quick and easy to fill whole or partial microplates. This user-friendly solution is well suited to nucleic acid extraction workflows and, together with the VOYAGER and ASSIST PLUS, is compatible with a wide range of extraction methods, including various silica-based kits using vacuum manifolds and most common magnetic bead extraction kits, further increasing throughput at this stage.
These easy to use instruments are ideal for laboratories that need to speed up their PCR-based screening workflows to meet urgent COVID-19 demands. Offering the simplicity of a handheld device, plus convenient features to streamline routine tasks, these instruments do not require complex installations or staff to spend time undertaking specialist training or developing new protocols.
Just as importantly, as workflows change and the demand for COVID-19 testing subsides over time, the flexibility of these systems ensures that they will always have a purpose in the lab. From ELISAs and protein purification to sample reformatting and plate replication, INTEGRA pipettes are designed to simplify a wide range of general life sciences and diagnostic tasks.
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