Since the new coronavirus outbreak began, the main barrier to testing has been the long waiting queues for those seeking COVID-19 testing. The introduction of a mobile laboratory now seems to contribute to some extent to this problem.
A team of researchers from Tsinghua University and the university affiliated Beijing CapitalBio Technology have created a COVID-19 test truck that functions as a mobile laboratory. In this laboratory, robots can analyze nucleic acid samples instantly, and people who are tested can obtain results in 45 minutes, almost instantly. This is a huge step in terms of time compared to the past.
The chief of the research team, Prof. Dr. Cheng Jing explained that the laboratory was equipped with robots that take samples from the throat and chemical chips that allow automatic analysis. The hardware in question provides the ability to triple the speed of the testing process and reduce the risk of viral infections compared to conventional methods.
Pan Liangbin, one of the responsible of the laboratory, which has the capacity to test 500 to 2 thousand people a day, states that one person works in charge of the robots that take samples, the other is obliged to put the samples on the seeker chips and read the test results from the computer. He adds that it is enough to have an hourly training.
Each mobile laboratory costs about 2 million yuan (about $ 300) now. However, for now, only 20 of them can be produced per month. Undoubtedly, the cost will decrease as the production capacity increases in the future.
Source: China International Radio