Scientists Turn Cargo Containers Into Coronavirus Labs

The Kings College London and Open Cell Labs collaboration promises to yield mobile, low-cost COVID-19 test labs that could be shipped to hotspots.

    2020/05/25

NSFW    LONDON — Researchers from the U.K. have developed the first-ever shipping container lab for COVID-19 testing that features a mobile, low cost, scalable and open-source design.

The lab units are called CONTAIN, according to a preprint study in BioRxive.

Writing in a news release, the paper's sponsor Open Cell Labs states each automated lab is rated Biosafety Level 2 plus as designed and requires just one staff.

The staff logs the barcoded samples before plating them. Then the plates are handed off to OpenTrons OT-2 liquid handling robots for RNA extraction.

Finally, plates from the OT-2 are put into the QuantStuido5 machine for the quantitative polymerase chain reaction test.

Patients take swab tests via a self-closing service window. Open Cell claims that one lab unit can churn out 2,400 tests per day.

Test results are sent electronically via secured protocols that can be integrated for use by governmental health agencies.

The labs could be scaled up by stacking as many as 39 the units together to form a large-scale coronavirus diagnostic center.
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