Labtech Systems / bioMérieux: PREVI™ Isola – Automated Microbiological Streaking Instrument
Our client (LabTech Systems) developed a revolutionary concept for mechanically streaking microbiological specimens on to conventional agar plates for diagnostic microbiology. They approached Invetech to develop a concept for high throughput automation of this core process in clinical laboratories, and then to design and manufacture this instrument.
- LabTech Systems
(marketed by bioMérieux)
- Microstreak (marketed by bioMérieux as PREVI™ Isola)
- Winner 2010 Medical Design Excellence Awards, In Vitro Diagnostics.
Conventional clinical microbiology involves specimen collection, registration, inoculation, isolation, identification and testing of pathogenic microbes from clinical specimens. Traditionally this process has used minimal automation. The isolation of bacterial colonies for identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing is performed manually using hand held spreading devices (loops) to "streak" a specimen onto one or more agar plates for incubation. This process is highly labor intensive and produces results of variable quality, and ties up highly skilled and valuable microbiologists performing routine work in an environment where their skills are in increasing demand.
The technical challenge required us to design a highly robust system to deal with a very wide variety of sample types at high throughput, handling a wide range of agar plate types at high speed - and produce reliable and consistent plate streaking.
Our team worked closely with LabTech Systems (and later with bioMérieux) building on their critical market input to design, develop and manufacture an instrument that uses the LabTech innovation to automate many of the manual tasks traditionally involved in the preparation of agar plates.
Our role, working with LabTech Systems,
- Instrument concept generation,
- Basic proof of principle for the critical higher risk automation solutions,
- Detailed design and development of the instrument (including electronics, fluidics and robotics),
- The instrument control and service software and GUI
- Prototype building, testing and qualification,
- Formal instrument Verification to Requirements,
- Transfer to manufacturing (in-house at Invetech), and
- Ongoing manufacturing support and sustaining engineering.
- Precision pipetting and positioning functions able to cope with the high variability of agar plates, and
- Providing robustness and ease of use for field deployable applications
The Microstreak technology revolutionises specimen inoculation and front-end processing tasks by:
- Maximizing bacterial colony isolation and quantification,
- Standardizing plate inoculation processes & results interpretation, and
- Streamlining the lab workflow, freeing up skilled staff for high skill activities.