Sponsored Content by Ziath LtdJan 4 2022Reviewed by Maria Osipova
Data produced by the State of California shows one of its main test suppliers, SummerBio LLC, based in Menlo Park, California, has delivered millions of tests for the Los Angeles and Santa Monica Unified School districts at the cost of just $10 each.
Image Credit: Ziath Ltd
These substantial cost-savings are thanks to significant investment in laboratory automation, which includes 2D-barcode tracking products supplied by Ziath LLC, based in San Diego, California.
Ziath LLC has recently announced how its rapid 2D barcode rack readers support the SummerBio LLC COVID-19 testing lab to deliver rapid, low-cost, high-volume testing solutions for educational organizations, employers and laboratories alike.
Formed during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, SummerBio LLC was conceived by a group of life science automation industry experts with decades of experience in assembling and running large-scale laboratory robotics.
SummerBio’s development and automation of the RT-PCR testing process allowed the company to become one of the main COVID-19 testing labs in California in under a year. This success led to the introduction of a twice-daily air service across California using their own turboprop aircraft for the transportation of Covid samples between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the early days of the pandemic everyone was scared - do I, have it? do you, have it? We felt that if we could get people the information to know what their COVID-19 infection status was quickly, they could make informed decisions."
Dave Scheinman, President of SummerBio
Scheinman's co-founder, Sasha Seletsky added, "We really wanted to enable high volume, low cost and fast turnaround COVID-19 testing to make it suitable for surveillance testing. To date, the Menlo Park labs of SummerBio have processed more than 7 million tests during the pandemic including a peak of 1,000,000 a day during August 2021. Through clever use of automation, we have driven down the cost per test to less than $10".
Their robotic liquid handling cells utilize a bespoke 2 ml cryotube, developed in Korea, housed in boxes of 100, which facilitate extremely high levels of automation for the rapid processing of these racks.
Image Credit: Ziath Ltd
Central to this process are four Ziath Cube 2D barcode rack readers which have the capacity to image a complete rack of 100 tubes and read out all the barcodes in just over 1 second.
As a result, SummerBio is able to swiftly track each box of COVID-19 patient sample tubes reliably throughout the entire testing process. For the RT-PCR step, licensed from Columbia University, robots decant the samples into 96 position tube racks that are compatible with the 96-well PCR plates employed in the final analysis.
Throughout this analysis, a series of Ziath Mirage readers are used to regulate the course of racks through the workstations. Any samples that show as positive via PCR identification can then be quickly extracted from the 96 well racks using a pair of Ziath Mohawk tube pickers to make tube selection relatively straightforward.
By arranging the positive samples collectively into a daughter rack, an additional PCR can be run to confirm the results if necessary. One of the advantages of the Ziath Mirage is that it can be used again to prepare the pick lists and verify which tubes are in the re-test racks.
Through the introduction of high-speed laboratory robotics in the field of PCR test processing, other laboratories across the USA are now attempting to emulate the success of the California-based lab, which will offer the advantages of this process to a larger public.
For additional information on rapid, low-cost, high-volume SARS-CoV-2 testing solutions, visit https://www.summer.bio/home.
For further information on rapid and 2D barcode rack scanning and tube picking solutions, visit www.ziath.com or contact Ziath on +44-1223-855021 / +1-858-880-6920 / [email protected]
About Ziath Ltd
Established in 2005, Ziath specializes in the development of state-of-the-art information management and instrumentation products employing 2D Datamatrix bar-coded tubes to streamline automation processes in life science organizations, from academia to the biotech and pharma industries.
In particular, we focus on managing large sample libraries (compound management, biobanking and sample management) using 2D Datamatrix tubes.
Ziath products encompass 2D barcode scanners, devices for handling tubes, 2D barcoded tubes and sample management software.
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