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Automated Nasal Swab Technology Creates Hands-Free Diagnostics Workflow

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 May 2022
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Image: RHINOstic Automated Nasal swabs create hands-free diagnostics workflows (Photo courtesy of Rhinostics)
Image: RHINOstic Automated Nasal swabs create hands-free diagnostics workflows (Photo courtesy of Rhinostics)

An innovative swab technology works with a variety of automated decappers to create hands-free diagnostics workflows from the point the sample enters the lab with rapid 2D barcode accessioning through decapping and aliquoting samples into microplates containing assay master mix, removing costly labor and errors.

The RHINOstic Automated Nasal Swab from Rhinostics, Inc. (Boston, MA, USA) integrates a unique, polypropylene-based swab with an automation-friendly cap. After the nasal sample is collected, the swab is placed into a transport tube with optional 2D/1D barcodes and ready for dry transport. The hydrophobic material and lack of viral transport media (VTM) help to reduce reagent costs, leaking/aerosol risks, and viral transport media-based assay inhibitors, and aid in ensuring complete sample elution compared to antiquated foam or spun fiber swabs.

In an automated workflow with a robotic decapper and automated liquid handler, up to 96 samples may be rapidly and reproducibly accessioned, decapped, and processed into assay plates at once versus the manual process, which can take up to 18 minutes to process the same number of samples. This enables high throughput workflows with minimal manual intervention, supports robust data, and instant scalability to meet surging sample demands without increasing labor costs. It also allows laboratories to manage their staff, where COVID-19 surges will not require armies of temporary workers but instead, relies on robotics to manage the increase of samples during peak times while lowering per sample labor costs to roughly USD 0.50 per sample.

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