UgenTec, Roche Denmark and Hvidovre Hospital today announced the successful implementation of an end-to-end workflow for Hvidovre Hospital’s molecular diagnostics lab Infectious Disease assay portfolio.
The parties collaborated to implement and integrate FastFinder software, which enables lab workflow automation and uses Artificial Intelligence to optimize data analysis, with the Roche FLOW solution deployed at Hvidovre.
With COVID presenting the biggest workload for lab personnel today, Hvidovre prioritized on validating their COVID assay. From there, the lab is expanding to the broader assay menu. Validation efforts to add additional assays, such as an MRSA assay, a respiratory panel, and a gastrointestinal panel are underway.
Eventually, the goal is to deploy the FastFinder platform across the entire assay portfolio currently running on the FLOW instrumentation, representing a menu of 28 tests.
A solution fit for high-throughput diagnostics
Gorm Lisby, Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre Hospital, commented: “We rely on Roche FLOW as a key solution to our high-throughput workflow. The FLOW platform provides the required flexibility in instrument configuration and allows us to standardize the wet lab workflow. With COVID testing ramping up, We decided to complement the Roche FLOW workflow with UgenTec’s FastFinder software platform, to streamline and automate data analysis and limit the burden on lab staff technicians”.
Gorm Lisby added: ”Once the pandemic hit, the benefit of freeing up staff resources through software automation rapidly became tangible: FastFinder streamlines routine lab operations to free capacity for pandemic testing, and expert staff can move from time-consuming result review and spreadsheet-based reports to managing the complexities of a rapid lab ramp-up.“
Hvidovre Hospital’s molecular diagnostics lab is pleased that Roche and UgenTec were able to deploy this solution into the routine diagnostic setting for them so rapidly. The solution is seamlessly integrated, which is essential given the burden on personnel brought on by the pandemic.
Gorm Lisby commented: “we are lucky to have very experienced molecular diagnostics staff, and I cannot afford these people to spend time on spreadsheets and manual result reviews at a time when their energy and intellect needs to be focused on maintaining quality & accuracy, performing clinical validation studies, and bringing assays into production.”.
Hvidovre also commented that as they bring junior staff on board, the automation capabilities of FastFinder allow them to get operational quickly because the assay interpretation logic is embedded in software rules rather than in people’s minds.
Automation and AI for testing at scale
UgenTec contributes 2 key components to the solution. FastFinder Analysis, the platform’s component for data interpretation and reporting, automates the assay instructions for use, minimizing result turnaround time (TAT) by avoiding time-consuming and error prone manual review. FastFinder Workflow adds fully automated sample and instrument tracking. As such, labs have full chain of custody of samples across plates, instruments and labs.
Johan Treschow, Solutions Partner at Roche Diagnostics Denmark, is pleased with the project success: “We’re happy we’ve been able to partner with UgenTec to put together this solution for Hvidovre’s molecular lab. We’re looking forward to supporting the lab in further deploying additional tests on this workflow, and providing them with a seamless solution for automated lab operations”.
A timely solution built for high-throughput diagnostics
Steven Verhoeven, CEO at UgenTec, adds: “Labs are under pressure to deploy SARS-CoV-2 testing while staff is already under strain. The pandemic has brought the lab’s need for automation from sample to end result in laser focus - not just for COVID testing, but for broader respiratory panels and for the lab’s entire infectious disease assay portfolios.” . Verhoeven adds “We’re pleased to have collaborated with Roche to integrate our FastFinder platform with their FLOW instrumentation to bring this solution to the Hvidovre lab, and are already extending the work beyond the COVID assay.”