Robotic System for Ultra-High Throughput SARS-CoV-2 Testing
4 Feb 2021
Ziath has worked with the Hubrecht Institute (Utrecht, Netherlands) in the development of a pioneering automated test robot, called STRIP-1, which can process up to 20,000 samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing in 24 hours.
Samples can be tracked precisely using a 2D-barcode on the bottom of each tube that is scanned multiple times throughout the process. It also enables an automatic online return of test results to the tested persons, relieving the burden on laboratory personnel.
Wouter de Laat and Marvin Tanenbaum, group leaders at the Hubrecht Institute, worked closely with Martijn Bosch, automation specialist at local instrument manufacturer Genmab to develop STRIP-1. 2D-barcoding of the sample tubes throughout the robotic workflow was achieved by integrating a Ziath Mirage camera-based 2D barcode reader into the automation platform. The high-speed of reading and decoding offered by the Mirage – around one second for a full 96 position rack used in STRIP-1 – was a key factor in the choice of Ziath, allowing the robot to reach its maximum potential of 20,000 samples per day.
"We hoped that we could organise everything in a faster and more intelligent way by using robots, so that became our focus almost immediately," said Wouter De Laat. “The STRIP-1 robot was designed by Martijn Bosch according to optimisation of our SARS-CoV-2 test requirements.
Martijn Bosch added: "Not just the new robot system, but also the whole chain of events posed a challenge. From sample collection, registration, the logistics and the tracking of samples to the test itself and reporting the results – basically the entire chain of events from patient to test and back, that was the big challenge.”
The Ziath Mirage ensures correct registration, tracking and reporting of the patient samples as they arrive in the lab and are re-formatted into 384-well PCR plates to increase throughput whilst conserving valuable and currently scarce PCR reagents.
The robot was ordered from Swiss automation company TECAN, who delivered and installed it just before Christmas 2020 at PAMM medical microbiology laboratory in Veldhoven, Netherlands. On 27 January 2021, Hugo de Jonge from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, visited the robot at the PAMM laboratory, as the Dutch government plans to order five more STRIP-1 systems in the future, if the validation procedure delivers the expected results. Together, these robots will be able to process more than 100,000 samples per 24 hours.
To see the STRIP-1 in action please see the video below. For further information on the Ziath Mirage camera-based 2D barcode reader please CLICK HERE or contact Ziath on +44-1223-855021 / +1 858-880-6920 / firstname.lastname@example.org.