The Impact of Microplate Imaging Solutions on Covid-19 Research and Therapeutic Development

The importance of microplate instruments and manufacturers on progress by the scientific community, and the power of collaboration in the face of unprecedented challenges.

As we’ve explored in previous posts, many companies have transitioned to provide solutions to help in the fight against Covid-19. From consumables and pipettes to diagnostic testing kits and much more, the life science industry has continued to innovate during these challenging times. An important area of focus for new covid research solutions includes microplate and imaging technologies.

Having recently joined forces with Agilent, Biotek offers many solutions for infectious disease research. Beyond microplate and imaging technologies, Biotek products are making an impact on molecular and clinical diagnostics as well as drug screening and development. Here are a few notable collaborations and studies that have utilized Biotek instruments and solutions:

  • Live SARS-CoV-2 Research: Interlocking Pieces Working Together. Early in the pandemic, Dr. Robert Davey, an investigator at Boston University’s (BU) National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), applied his knowledge of infectious disease and Ebola and made the transition to Covid-19 research and drug development. A major component of his previous pursuits included the development of high-throughput small molecule screening assays for lead compounds with promising antiviral activities.
  • A challenge of his work involves the fact that screening needs to be performed on infectious virus targets in a biosafety level four (BSL-4) containment lab. To accomplish this feat for Covid, the lab pieced multiple Biotek instruments together to create a so called ‘Universe’ solution. Two Cytation 1 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Readers (shown right), two BioStack Microplate Stackers (shown below), and two MultiFlo FX Multi-Mode Dispensers were arranged together to provide a seamless workflow with minimal hands-on programming.
  • Early results of this work led to the acquisition and characterization of SARS-CoV-1 virus antibodies that cross reacted with the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. Screening assays can now be run around the clock using 384-well plates in sequence with high-content imaging analysis. The largest screen to date involved 28,000 data points, a feat that would not be possible without all of the Biotek instruments working in unison as pieces of the ‘Universe’ solution.

As the story of covid continues to unfold, many studies are highlighting the challenges that must be overcome in understanding the virus and the incredible skills and intuition of investigators leading the research.

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Molecular Devices' instruments and solutions have played important roles in Covid research, as well as in vaccine and therapeutic development. Simply considering the breadth of the resource materials available from the site underscores the value of these products in the fight against the virus and infectious diseases in general. Here are a few highlights:

  • Molecular Devices offers an entire portfolio of tools and instruments for cell line development for vaccine and therapeutic antibody production. An array of application notes, scientific posters, and webinars serve to support these products and their successful implementation in infectious disease research.  Applications involving the QPIX, Clone Select, and Clone Select Printer platforms, along with the powerful ABS, iD3/iD5 (shown right), and i3X (shown below) microplate imaging devices, are summarized in a comprehensive an informative Ebook. Titled “Accelerating Vaccine Development”, the Ebook is sure to be a valuable resource for those engaged in cutting edge vaccine and antibody research.
  • Molecular Devices showcases a collection of citations of published work on the site as well, utilizing their instruments in a broad display of peer-reviewed investigations.

Beyond research and development, Molecular Devices has also engaged in philanthropic and scientific collaboration efforts in the fight against the pandemic. COVID-19 relief efforts have included the donation of 2,500 surgical masks to hospitals as well as food donations to non-profit humanitarian organizations. Additionally, the company is involved with CrowdFight COVID-19, an initiative from the scientific community to put all available scientific resources at the service of the fight against COVID-19. Check out the website to learn more about this scientific crowdsourcing endeavor.

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Updated December 2, 2021