Dudley hospital switches to automated nucleic acid extraction


Microbiologists improve turnaround times in HIV viral load testing

The microbiology department at Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital has recently switched to automated nucleic acid extraction using bioMérieux’s NucliSENS easyMAG system, helping to improve turnaround times and reduce repeat testing for HIV viral load testing.

Lindsay Baker, the hospital’s deputy head of biomedical science (BMS), said: “When we originally started HIV viral load testing five years ago, we had very few samples and could easily keep up with demand using the manual NucliSENS EasyQ HIV VL assay. As our load has increased, this has taken up an increasing amount of BMS time, and so the NucliSENS easyMAG platform was an obvious solution.

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“The transition from the manual to the automated technique has been very straightforward. The major benefits of the switch have been improved turnaround times for results and a reduction in the number of repeat tests. Introduction of an automated system has also freed up BMS time – input is only required for interpretation of results – as well as improving traceability, by eliminating inputting and handling errors. Overall, it has been a very simple step up to automation, and the intuitive software helped to make the process go smoothly.”