Can one lab do 10,000 COVID-19 tests a day?

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During the pandemic, different branches of science and researchers from across disciplines have come together to further our knowledge about COVID-19. Jeff Wrana, a senior investigator at Sinai Health’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, is a good example of how the scientific research community is pulling in expertise from all directions.

When the pandemic hit, he was studying cancer and learning how to apply robotic technology into the lab work. Seeing the need to boost testing capacity his research group was able to turn from their work analyzing the different cells that make up a tumour, to analyzing samples from COVID-19 patients.

Using sequencing tools which can sequence a single genome overnight and robotics that can process high volumes of samples, he believes his lab can analyze 10,000 COVID-19 samples a day. Or more.

Freelance broadcaster Don Hill talked with project leader Jeff Wrana about the technology and the logistical challenges associated with handling that many samples as he moves from the proof-of-concept stage into real world testing.

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