Automated PCR assay setup -Seamless integration with QIAsymphony SP

The QIAsymphony AS is a module that directly interfaces with QIAsymphony SP. Any samples that have been purified with QIAsymphony SP can be automatically transferred to the QIAsymphony AS module for PCR assay setup, a so called integrated run. In order to make sure that the process is fully traceable, a bar code system is utilized, labeling the samples all the way from crude starting material to the final PCR sample. This is enabled by the complete bi-directional data exchange capability between the modules, which also ensures that all the data are fully traceable and available to the user.

Since manual pipetting steps are eliminated, the quality and efficiency of the assays can be ensured even for complex PCR assays that need to be set up on a routine basis. With dedicated software and validated protocols, it is easy to use and allows high-throughput, reproducible workflows at the highest possible quality standards.

Accurate and flexible workflow

The accuracy of the system is additionally ensured by featuring a full temperature control, which actively cools the templates, reagents and reactions mixes. An inventory scan is performed before each run, checking the consumables and liquid levels, reading the bar codes of the reagent cartridges and preventing loading errors. All these functions are combined with features that enhances QIAsymphony flexibility. For example, several different PCRs, like multiplex PCR, pathogen identification, food safety assays or STR tests can be set up during each run and the system can even normalize/dilute the eluates to given target concentrations.

Case Study QIAsymphony

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The Challenge

Decentralized molecular testing by enabling medium throughput laboratories. Molecular testing is largely centralized in specialized laboratories, reference labs and large hospitals. Sample types are very diverse, come in very different containers and need to be tested for a broad range of diseases.

The Goal

Build a system that accommodates for the immense variety of setups of medium throughput testing labs. All samples types and input formats will be accepted by the system. 1 to 96 samples, input volumes from 100 ul to 1 ml and processing of any type of PCR assay gives the operator highest flexibility. Despite its flexibility, the system will be set up in less than 15 min. and run from start to finish without user intervention.

The Approach

In order to accommodate the various setups and demands of the laboratories a modular system design with sample preparation, assay setup and analysis was chosen. Ease of use and quick setup of the system was achieved with a disposable, pre-filled reagent cartridge design loaded into an easily accessible drawer. The sample input and output area can be loaded with individual tubes or microplates. The system is operated via touchscreen. The core sample processing module can be extended with either an assay setup module or an automated PCR cycler unit for up to 140 analyses per run.

The Result

2000 units have been sold globally so far. QIAsymphony is the undisputed standard in automated nucleic acid sample processing for the medium throughput laboratory.

Case Study QIAsymphony Cartridge

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The Challenge

Biological samples are extremely divers requiring a large number of methods and chemistries to purify nucleic acids and provide them in a format for further processing.

The Goal

Build a low cost disposable, pre-filled, IVD compliant cartridge that accommodates dozens of different magnetic bead chemistries. The cartridge is filled, assembled and sealed in an automated production. Will be opened automatically by the QIAsymphony system and can be resealed if not completely used. The shelf life of the cartridge is > 1 year. Productions cost are equal to or lower than comparable spin column products.

The Approach

Individual troughs are deep-drawn and heat sealed for low cost and long-term storage. The heat seal withstands aggressive chemicals for an indefinite storage period. Troughs are held together with a frame for easy handling. A 2D barcode will identify the individual troughs. A plastic disposable piercing device is used to punch holes to allow the pipetting head to pick up reagents. Low volume enzymes are stored in a separate rack for cold storage and can be attached to the through rack to build one handling unit.

The Result

The QIAsymphony cartridge is an extremely cost-effective and reliable reagent storage container used thousand-fold in diagnostic laboratories around the world.

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