Tackling COVID-19 and influenza testing with semi-automation

The spread of contagious diseases always puts mounting pressures on public health laboratories, but never more so than in the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of a test for COVID-19 was a huge breakthrough and the backbone that enabled us to tackle the spread of the disease, however, behind this testing, were the significant numbers of public health laboratories rolling results out the door every day. These laboratories were – and many still are – facing unprecedented pressures to scale-up their operations to tackle record-breaking demands for COVID-19 and flu testing with limited staff members and resources, which has taken a toll on the well-being of staff. This gave the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratory – a member of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) – the impetus to evaluate the use of a semi-automated set-up of the CDC influenza and SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR assays. In this article, Microbiologists Jessica Alexander and Pedro Tirado Velez discuss how semi-automation drastically improved the accuracy and precision of results and gave the scientists back their time to perform other testing that had been forced to take a backseat.

Source: the-scientist.com

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