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Tecan Journal

Selected category: PCR

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Flexing Automation Capabilities

Many diagnostic laboratories rely on PCR-based tests to identify a range of illnesses, from gastrointestinal and respiratory infections to tropical diseases. However, processing the samples manually can be time consuming and prone to errors, limiting the number of tests that can be carried out in a day. Automation can increase throughput, but is not always practical for smaller laboratories that do not need to run hundreds or thousands of samples at a time looking for the same pathogen. Certest Biotec – a Spanish biotechnology company – has developed the VIASURE V-Flex, an automated and flexible workstation for nucleic acid extraction and PCR set-up, that can be used to run multiple different PCR reactions on a single plate.

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Analyzing poor quality RNA: how low can you go?

NGS is a vital tool used for studying the structure and function of DNA for multiple applications. However, there are several challenges commonly encountered when using this technique, particularly when working with degraded or trace levels of RNA. These issues motivated research staff at Kazusa DNA Research Institute in Japan to search for library preparation kits that would enable high quality sequencing for its customers when working with low quality samples.

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Automating a herd of tests

The COVID-19 pandemic is an important reminder that pathogens are not only transmitted via air and contact with other humans, but also from animals and through food. This highlights the need for effective diagnostic tools that offer fast testing of animal and environmental samples to help monitor livestock and aquaculture. Qualyse is a French company that does exactly this, using advanced laboratory automation to provide immunoserology and molecular diagnostic testing for up to 12,000 samples a day.

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An alternative approach to prenatal testing

Genetic screening is used during pregnancy to look for hereditary conditions due to a chromosomal abnormality – such as Down’s syndrome – or changes in the DNA sequences, and typically involves an invasive amniocentesis procedure. Yourgene Health, an international molecular diagnostics group, has developed an automated, non-invasive alternative, for more accurate and safer prenatal screening.

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Responding to a pandemic

SARS-CoV-2 has hit the world by storm and testing has had a major part to play in the fight against the virus, helping to track cases and slow rates of infection. ABC Labs, based at the Karolinska campus in Stockholm, was founded soon after the start of the pandemic with the specific purpose of establishing large scale and high quality PCR and ELISA COVID-19 testing in Sweden. The laboratory analyzes thousands of tests on a daily basis in partnership with the country’s Public Health Agency and a number of regional and private healthcare providers, to help stop the virus.

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Streamlining genomics workflows

DNA isolation and PCR set-up can be laborious and time consuming when performed manually. Dutch pathology and microbiology services provider PAMM has overcome this issue by automating its molecular testing protocols for sexually transmitted infections and gastrointestinal conditions, freeing up staff to perform other tasks.

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