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INTEGRA Pipetting Solutions Accelerate Crucial Viral Genomics Research

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The Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) in Louisiana, USA, is using INTEGRA Biosciences’ liquid handling solutions for COVID-19 testing and viral genomics studies. These products have streamlined the center’s sample transfer protocols, leading to shorter turnaround times and supporting vital research into the prevention and control of viral respiratory diseases.

The CEVT was established in March 2020 to address the urgent testing needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also sequenced over 18,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes as part of international efforts to better understand the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inform vaccine design. Scientists at the CEVT are using 3 VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes from INTEGRA for sample reformatting from tubes to 96 well plates within its COVID-19 testing workflows, and for liquid transfers and bead clean-up in the genome sequencing lab. 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.”

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The facility also turned to INTEGRA to help staff to manage its growing workload and maximize lab throughput, acquiring an ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot to automate liquid handling protocols for influenza and RSV genome sequences, as well as community wastewater monitoring for mpox (monkeypox). The D-ONE single channel pipetting module for the ASSIST PLUS will give the group the flexibility to build new projects and explore additional viral sequencing workflows going forward. 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.”