We’ve covered a lot of territory this year. From exploring microscopy breakthroughs to announcing mergers and collaborations throughout the life sciences world. Rightfully so, much attention has been focused on products and initiatives for COVID-19 research, diagnostic, and therapeutic development.
COVID-19 related products have and will continue to be at the forefront of life sciences research. Immunoassay and diagnostic technologies are critical first lines of defense. Therapeutic and vaccine research are central for the development of treatment and prevention measures.
Earlier this year we explored new immunoassay and laboratory products for life sciences research which focused on products positioned to advance COVID-19 vaccine research and development. We detailed:
- SARS-CoV-2 recombinant protein reagents from Sino Biological and R&D Systems.
- New protein purification products and the availability of COVID-19 patient antibody samples for immunoassay development.
- Several novel immunoassay kits and instrument platforms.
As the year comes to a close, several new products are pushing the boundaries of current immunoassay technologies.
- Sino Biological now offers over 200 SARS-CoV-2 variant reagents from its recombinant variant bank. These include spike protein and intact full-length proteins from the entire catalog of variant lineages including delta and the most recent omicron.
- In addition to offering a portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 recombinant protein variants, R&D Systems now offers the SARS-CoV-2 Variant Inhibitor Screening Kit. This ready-to-use ELISA measures neutralizing activity in serum and plasma from vaccinated donors by monitoring the binding between the RBDs of COVID-19 variants and the human ACE-2 receptor.
Streamlining Sample Prep
Our article advancements in SARS-CoV-2 testing and research technologies looked at new products meant to streamline specimen collection, sample preparation, and diagnostic processing — notorious bottlenecks in SARS-CoV-2 testing workflows. We noted:
- A partnership between Hamilton and Rhinostic has led to the new LabElite Decapper, a device aimed at alleviating the bottleneck of specimen transfer and sample preparation, enabling downstream analysis and faster time to result.
- The DreamPrep Workstation from Tecan and Zymo Research was designed to simplify RNA extraction and create a high-throughput solution for sample prep.
- Bruker released the FluoroCycler XT Real-time PCR system, which allows multiplex testing of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid in tandem with other viral pathogens relevant for the cold and flu seasons.
Addressing the constant battle of speed, precision, and scalability of sample preparation, several new products have recently emerged. These include:
- The Perkin Elmer FDA EUA authorized PKamp Respiratory SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR panel 1 for simultaneous detection of SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The test is limited to CLIA certified labs and has recently been shown by In Silico assessment to maintain sensitivity in the presence of the Omicron Variant virus.
- PE also offers the chemagic™ Viral DNA/RNA 300 kit H96 and chemagic™ 360 instrument (shown right) for rapid, high-quality RNA extraction of viral RNA for respiratory RT-PCR testing. This system is fully compatible with the PKamp RT-PCR assay.
Verifying Virus Variants
On the viral genetics front, our article on new genetic variant tracking and sequencing solutions took a closer look at the types of PCR and sequencing platforms being used to track SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our discussion included:
- The details of PCR kits and reagents currently available for variant tracking
- The latest sequencing technologies and breakthroughs.
Genetic sequencing and testing of SARS-CoV-2 variants has continued to climb in significance as new variants have emerged. Here are several developments along this front:
- Thermo Fisher has confirmed detection of SARS-CoV-2 samples containing the Omicron Variant using the TaqPath COVID-19 testing kits, which target eight unique gene targets across several regions of the viral genome.
- Specific genotyping assays to detect the Omicron Variant are being developed for analysis by the companies TaqMan Mutation Panel, which has an existing menu of 50 assays to assess the presence of known variants and mutations.
Thermo has also announced expansion of the RT-PCR platforms for research and clinical testing including:
- The Quant Studio Absolute Q digital PCR system (shown right), which harnesses microfluidics and partitioning technologies to enable digital processing of microplates.
- The capabilities extend beyond infectious disease to include analysis of complex liquid biopsy and cell and gene therapy samples in cancer and other research applications.
LAMP or loop-mediated isothermal amplification as a technology has the potential to supplant traditional RT-PCR is settings in which complex thermocycling, time constraints, or power sources are not feasible or available.
- Agilent now offers compatibility of LAMP Assays with their Bio-Tek multi-mode microplate readers.
- Assays can be monitored in real time following absorbance spectral progression.
- Kinetic data of the LAMP assays over 60 minutes can be used to derive quantitative information using on onboard processing software.
Sample Storage Solutions
The race to develop vaccines exposed limitations in the availability of cold storage solutions. This also spotlighted opportunities for product development and innovation. We explored several of these new products and innovations in our article, Cold Storage Solutions for the Lab, the Clinic, and the Field.
- Storage products for the lab and the clinic included: Ultra low freezer offerings, as well as medical-grade refrigerator and freezer options from Eppendorf, Helmer, and BioCold Environmental.
- Discussion of field-based solutions included the Sterling Ultracold portable ULT and Coldtainer transportable temperature-control units.
Sartorius now offers the Celsius® FFT freezers, stackable, scalable, standardized solution for single-use freezing.
- The Celcius FFT (Flexible Freeze and Thaw) is a unique bag-in-shell system, meant to replace traditional methods for freezing and thawing.
- The single-use containers are sterile, pre-assembled, and ready-to-use.
- Applications include biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing, with compatibility to existing freeze/thaw equipment and workflows.
View Sino Biological listings on LabX
View Thermo Fisher QuantStudio RT-PCR listings on LabX
Visit our Pharma and Biopharma, Molecular and Genetic Tools, and Antibodies and Reagents application pages for further insight and product information.