These convenient solutions have helped the lab to increase its throughput and tackle a sample backlog despite the ongoing turmoil caused by the global pandemic.

NHPHL carries out testing for infectious diseases like influenza, measles, mumps, HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C. When the global health crisis hit in 2020, the lab was forced to also perform high volume, fast turnaround COVID-19 testing on top of its routine tasks, quickly reaching approximately 800 to 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 tests every day. Dr Jessica L. Alexander, Virology/STD Laboratory Supervisor at NHPHL, explained: “At the start of the pandemic, our staff were struggling to get through this enormous workload using their existing manual pipettes, creating a backlog. We therefore adopted the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot with the VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette, and the MINI 96 to process larger sample numbers of SARS-CoV-2 specimens in parallel, saving valuable time and enhancing throughput. Without these automated solutions, we would not have been able to maintain our huge testing volumes or meet the demand for rapid turnaround times.

“Following its launch in early 2022, we have also evaluated the D-ONE single channel pipetting module for use with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Influenza SARS-CoV-2 (Flu SC2) rRT-PCR multiplex assay. The D-ONE was used for automated master mix preparation, and sample addition was performed with the MINI 96. The combination of the two instruments demonstrated 100 percent accuracy and reduced total hands-on time by 27 percent,” Jessica continued.

Pedro Tirado Velez, Virology Laboratory Scientist at NHPHL, added: “We have had a great experience of using INTEGRA’s ASSIST PLUS, D-ONE, and MINI 96 instruments. They each tackle a unique task within our lab's SARS-CoV-2 process, and have allowed efficient testing. SARS-CoV-2 increased our workload, and this was a huge physical and mental burden for our staff. Thankfully, we were able to automate much of our process through INTEGRA’s technologies, and this has greatly benefitted our employees’ overall health.”