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Hamilton and Rhinostics Reinvent Rapid Swab-Based Sample Workflows from Collection to Processing
Novel RHINOstic™ Swab Collection Device and Automated Liquid Handlers Increase Testing Throughput while Decreasing Active Manpower
Hamilton Company and Rhinostics, an early-stage Harvard University spin-out company, are combining their respective strengths to improve the speed and quality of nasal and nasopharyngeal sample workflows from collection to processing while also reducing the need for active labor involvement. This sample type is widely used to detect antibodies and antigens in relation to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and many other pathogens.
The hands-free automated workflow includes use of the RHINOstic™ nasal swab collection device and one of Hamilton’s Microlab® STAR™, Microlab NIMBUS®, or Microlab Prep™automated liquid handling workstations, along with the LabElite® DeCapper from Hamilton Storage Technologies. This combination of technologies alleviates common time-consuming bottlenecks in testing workflows, even during times of surging sample influx. By increasing sample throughput and reducing turnaround times, stakeholders are empowered and informed to make confident downstream decisions regarding patient treatment strategies.
The patent-pending RHINOstic nasal and buccal swab collection device consists of a polypropylene swab stick, integrated into an automation-friendly cap, and a transport tube labeled with a 2-dimensional (2D) barcode. At the point of collection, the swab minimizes patient discomfort when gathering sample. Samples collected via the RHINOstic may be shipped without use of viral transport media (VTM) to reduce reagent costs and risks of leaking or aerosol creation. Lack of VTM also eliminates the need to concentrate samples prior to analysis.
Up to 96 samples may be automatically accessioned and decapped at once using the LabElite DeCapper with a 12-channel head and conversion kit. The LabElite DeCapper may be used as a standalone device or integrated with Hamilton’s automated liquid handlers.
Hamilton’s automated liquid handlers consistently and automatically perform tedious and time-consuming pipetting and other tasks so that users may attend to higher value tasks. By reducing active labor time, efficiency and productivity are increased across the laboratory. Walkaway operation also reduces the user’s risk of biohazard exposure.
Each Hamilton automated liquid handler may be optimized with tools and programmed methods for the application at hand, including PCR, next generation sequencing (NGS), ELISA and more. User-friendly software guides any user through assay setup and processing, and when used with Hamilton pipette tips, patented Compressed O-Ring Expansion (CO-RE®) technology creates a tight seal between pipetting mandrel and tip to support highly accurate and consistent results.
Automated sample processing using this hands-free automated workflow from Hamilton and Rhinostics may be easily scaled at any time without increasing labor, equipment or reagent costs.
Hamilton Robotics, an affiliate of Hamilton Company, is a leading global manufacturer providing automated liquid handling workstations and laboratory automation technology to the scientific community. With a focus on innovative design, Hamilton products incorporate patented liquid handling technologies into a portfolio that includes liquid handling platforms, standard application-based solutions, small devices, consumables, and OEM liquid handling solutions. Known for advancing life science, clinical diagnostics, forensics and biotechnology industries, Hamilton products offer reliability, performance and flexibility. Ensuring a continuous commitment to quality, Hamilton utilizes state-of-the-art manufacturing at production facilities in Reno, Nevada and Bonaduz, Switzerland, and has earned a global ISO 9001 certification. Privately held, Hamilton maintains headquarters in Reno, Nevada; Franklin, Massachusetts; and Bonaduz, Switzerland, along with subsidiary offices throughout the world.
Rhinostics Inc. is an early stage company commercializing a simple and elegant solution to bring efficiencies and cost savings to the laboratory workflow. The RHINOstic nasal swab provides features that increase sample throughput by more than 10-fold while removing labor and errors from the laboratory workflow. The swab is integrated onto a cap that can be automated for removal from the tube while all 96 samples are simultaneously accessioned through scanning a 2D barcode on the bottom of the tubes. Additionally, the device allows dry shipment of respiratory samples without viral transport media, and the nasal collection allows for an easy and comfortable collection. Viral samples can be released directly into a small amount of saline, providing sample concentration of 30x or greater, providing greater standardization and improving downstream assay reliability. The product provides an immediate impact to increasing COVID testing efficiencies while being applicable to broader respiratory viral, bacterial, and genetic testing using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and next generation sequencing (NGS). The RHINOstic product is registered as Class I exempt medical device with the FDA and is available for purchase.