How does automated liquid handling system help with COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) screening


The Coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses that include the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Coronaviruses infect animal hosts and can be transmitted between animals and people. On the date of publishing, the animal source of the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus is yet to be identified.

The continued spread of the Coronavirus around the world has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus outbreak, a public health emergency of international concern. This declaration has empowered health departments and government agencies to invest in ways to rapidly scale up testing capabilities, to detect and manage the Coronavirus spread in their respective countries. 

The spread of the Coronavirus has placed a significant burden on public and private testing laboratories. For every one positive case, 100’s or 1000’s of potential patient samples are screened. This rapid increase in the number of samples that need to process, as well as short turn around times, often outstrip the capacity of the laboratories. Further, the significant health risk that the Coronavirus presents to human health means that every safety precaution needs to be taken when handling potentially infected samples. One way to reduce the risks to personnel undertaking the analysis of samples is by limiting the hands-on time staff has with samples. Automation offers the opportunity to remove technicians from many aspects of sample processing. In addition, automation of laboratory workflows provides a way to increase sample throughput and reduce the chance of human error.

Aurora Biomed has developed automated DNA extraction systems which can be placed into biosafety cabinets. This ensures that sample processing (such as DNA extraction) and downstream sample analysis (e.g., PCR setup) takes place in the safety of a biosafety cabinet. Aurora’s automated liquid handling systems are compatible with most commercially available Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) detection kits. Thus can form part of a turnkey automated Coronavirus (COVID-19) detection solution.

For more information on the COVID-19, please visit the WHO website or the CDC website.