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15 December 2021 News
This article is available in: English

One of the largest COVID-19 laboratories in Europe is now also on the hunt for Omicron:

Laboratory software from CliniSys | MIPS enables record number of PCR tests

Over 23 million samples have already been evaluated in the Vienna COVID-19 laboratory of Lifebrain Covid Labor GmbH in the past 12 months, and the numbers are increasing by several hundred thousand every day. The extensive test program in Austria is supported by state-of-the-art laboratory software from CliniSys | MIPS.

Exactly 12 months ago, on December 15, 2020, a new COVID-19 test laboratory was opened in Vienna. On the location of the former Otto Wagner Hospital, Lifebrain built one of the largest and most modern test laboratories in Austria within a few weeks; converting and equipping two old pavilions with state-of-the-art technology.

With the roll-out of the Vienna test program “Alles gurgelt!”, the number of COVID-19 tests carried out there dramatically increased. The unique and successful campaign of the City of Vienna offers all citizens the opportunity to get PCR tests for free. The Lifebrain laboratory can process and analyse up to 500,000 samples every day with the results being available in less than 18 hours on average.

State-of-the-art equipment and sophisticated logistics

In order to be able to carry out such immense amounts of tests quickly and reliably, state-of-the-art equipment and sophisticated logistics are necessary. Citizens can pick up the PCR test kits free of charge in drugstores throughout Vienna, carry out the test easily at home and then hand over the sample tubes in numerous supermarkets and petrol stations. Dozens of trucks transport the samples from there to the Lifebrain laboratory, where they are examined by 1,000 employees with the help of 400 pipetting robots and analyzers. The result is available to citizens in the shortest possible time via a web portal.

The complete workflow from sampling and testing to the rapid delivery of the results and the “Green Pass” certificates is being processed with the help of powerful laboratory software from CliniSys | MIPS. The GLIMS laboratory information system and the CyberLab order communication software have been developed in close cooperation with the experts from CliniSys | MIPS and implemented by the Vienna system vendor Assista – in record time. In addition to continuous support, a new function to support pooling tests, essential for the massive expansion of capacity, has been developed and integrated into the system.

“Alles gurgelt!” – a test offensive with exemplary character

In total, more than 23 million PCR tests have been carried out in Lifebrain’s laboratory so far, mainly for “Alles gurgelt!”, but also for the Viennese schools and projects in other parts of the country. And the success is contagious: there are more and more interested parties who also want to use the successful program. With the rising demand and the handling problems several Austrian states have experienced with the test quantities, the laboratory is currently significantly expanding once again: the conversion of two further pavilions on the laboratory site will soon increase the daily capacity by 50% to 750,000 tests , and up to 600 additional employees will be hired to manage and process the increased samples. This will make the Lifebrain laboratory in Vienna by far the largest COVID-19 laboratory in Europe.

On the hunt for Omicron

Another important innovation has already been implemented: In addition to the proven, fast and reliable PCR tests, it has recently become possible to examine positive test results for infection with the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. If Omicron is suspected, the corresponding samples can be immediately sequenced. This is done directly in the laboratory using high-end NextSeq analyzers and enables the virus genome to be decrypted within a few days. After sequencing, the result can then be reported to the authorities and scientific databases. This enables the spread of the new variant to be understood at an early stage – an important prerequisite allowing immediate reaction and for countermeasures to be undertaken.