Accelerating Viral Genomics Research Through Advanced Pipetting Solutions
Jul 17 2023
The Louisiana-based Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) has partnered with Integra Biosciences to employ their cutting-edge liquid handling solutions in COVID-19 testing and viral genomics research. The implementation of these innovative products has significantly optimised the centre's sample transfer protocols, resulting in reduced turnaround times.
Established in March 2020 to tackle the pressing testing requirements stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEVT has emerged as a prominent player in international initiatives aimed at comprehending the SARS-CoV-2 virus and guiding vaccine development, having sequenced over 18,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes. To facilitate its COVID-19 testing workflows, as well as liquid transfers and bead clean-up in the genome sequencing laboratory, CEVT scientists have integrated 3 Integra VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes for reformatting samples from tubes to 96-well plates.
Dr Krista Queen, Director of the Viral Genomics and Sequencing lab in the CEVT, explained: “The transfer of liquids between different labware types was a huge pain point as sample reformatting by hand was an extremely time-consuming and error-prone process. The VOYAGER pipettes, with their electronically adjustable tip spacing, enable us to easily and quickly transfer multiple samples at a time between different labware formats. We also use 2 VIAFLO lightweight electronic pipettes for repetitive pipetting and mixing steps in our workflows, and a MINI 96 portable electronic pipette for simple, accurate, and quick full 384 well plate stamping, making it possible for us to maintain short turnaround times and rapidly build a picture of disease prevalence.”
To cope with the increasing workload and enhance laboratory efficiency, the facility sought assistance from Integra and implemented the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot. This automated solution has been instrumental in streamlining liquid handling protocols for influenza and RSV genome sequencing, as well as community wastewater monitoring for mpox (monkeypox). Additionally, the inclusion of the D-ONE single channel pipetting module within the ASSIST PLUS system has provided the team with the flexibility to undertake new projects and explore diverse viral sequencing workflows in the future.
Krista continued: “Our new Integra pipetting solutions will increase our lab’s capacity and give us greater confidence in the reliability of our results. These valuable products will help the CEVT achieve its goal of becoming the region’s top surveillance lab for the detection of new viruses and other pathogens that could affect human health.”
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