After the samples reach our laboratory, they are inactivated in an incubator at approx. 70°C. This means eliminating the infectivity of the viruses. In this way, we can ensure that our employees work in a safe environment.
The samples are then scanned in another laboratory area and assigned to a test run. Here, each sample is given a position on a plate and can thus be clearly assigned in each subsequent step.
Our trained staff transfer a precisely defined portion of the sample into a “deep-well plate”. These contain a lysis buffer, which exposes the nucleic acids of the virus for detection.
Isolation of the nucleic acids
The deep-well plate is then inserted into the insulation machine. Here, the sample is processed in several washing steps so that at the end it contains only an eluate with the purified viral nucleic acids.
Preparation of the
The eluate is mixed on a 396-well plate with a master mix containing primer and fluorescent marker. The primers bind to a specific sequence of the coronavirus protein, which makes it possible to obtain precise results.
The 396 well plate is sealed and placed in the PCR cycler.
With the help of a reverse transcriptase, a complementary DNA is created from the viral RNA.
The DNA is then amplified in several heating and cooling steps, during which the double strand is broken (DNA denaturation) and a new sequence is added (DNA polymerase adds dNTPs).
Thus, even a small amount of virus can be detected in the sample.
After PCR, the results are transmitted to our IT system. The scanning process at the beginning automatically assigns the results to the correct person.
By means of so-called melting curves, which represent a positive or negative result depending on the shape of the curve, our employees create a preliminary evaluation.
After review and approval of the results by a laboratory medicine specialist, the results are sent.