On the morning of September 29, 2020, four vehicle-mounted nucleic acid testing labs, co-developed by BGI_MGI and Shudu Bus, are ready to launch in Sichuan. They are equipped with MGI’s automation equipment and intelligent laboratory management system, and it only takes four persons to achieve a daily throughput of up to 20,000, making them one of the most efficient and mobile solutions on the market.
With a tight schedule and heavy workload, the project carries the important mission of epidemic prevention and control in autumn and winter. In order to complete the project as soon as possible, on September 9, three MGI engineers, Xu Kai, Xuefeng, Hongfeng, took on the task and rushed to Chengdu, Sichuan. Among 19 days of hard work, the longest time they worked in a single day was more than 20 hours. Finally, the new vehicle was ready to launch on the eve of National Day, as a gift for the country’s birthday.
"It was not easy, and time was very limited. MGI engineer team worked hard on the project in the whole process. If we successfully complete this project, we hope that in the future this overall solution can be applied to other mobile labs. Due to the tight schedule, Xu Hongfeng, the experimental management system engineer, went to Sichuan immediately after the company meeting,” as Xu Kai recalled. As it’s too late to go home, his family helped to directly bring the luggage to the company.
Hongfeng (first from right) is introducing the system to Wang Jian (second from right), Co-founder and Chairman of BGI Group
“Usually, it would take a day to complete the configuration of a lab system. We had to speed it up. It only took half a day to set up the whole system.” said Hongfeng.
“The ZLIMS laboratory management system is the key to vehicle-mounted nucleic acid testing labs. The ZLIMS management system runs through the whole experimental process, and it can help realize the standardization, informatization, automation, intelligence, and compliance of the whole process of new crown virus detection through automatic data collection and processing, improving the detection efficiency. Thanks to the strong support of the team from Shenzhen headquarters that have made all preparations in advance, the system can be rapidly installed.
According to the introduction, as a special information management platform for COVID-19 detection, ZLIMS, consists of an information collection system and a laboratory management system, can realize full-cycle data management from the information collection, sample preparation, sample dispatching, nucleic acid extraction, qPCR, test results checking. It also has the advantages, such as instrument integration and monitoring, auxiliary judgment of test results, automatic data acquisition, report management, etc. It is suitable for the information management of nucleic acid testing laboratories to realize the interconnection of instruments. It can be used as a supporting system for single or multiple instruments (such as MGISTP-7000, MGISP-960, etc.) to reduce manual operation and improve work efficiency. The whole process can also be tracked.
No Excuses, No Shirk
As MGIers, We Are Always Seeking Solutions!
The “Huo-Yan” vehicle-mounted nucleic acid testing labs is a brand-new attempt for MGI. How to, however, the installation of the equipment on a mobile vehicle has been a big challenge for the entire project. “Our equipment is medical IVD equipment, which cannot be modified casually. It is the first time that we try to put the equipment in a narrow space and in a vehicle. We need to work collaboratively with our partners and seek solutions together. Nobody’s looking for excuses to shrink from responsibility. We, as MGIers, are trying to solve the problem in every battle against the epidemic!” said Xu Kai.
Xu Kai, an after-sales engineer of MGI (first from right), is demonstrating the equipment to Li Gang (second from right), deputy governor of Sichuan Provincial Government
Xu Kai said that under the circumstance of limited time, after the unremitting communication between MGI’s R&D personnel and the bus designer of our partner Shudu Bus. The two sides finally reached a consensus on the installation location of the instrument and the design of the vehicle, and firmly installed the equipment on the vehicle.
According to the introduction, the vehicle is equipped with MGI's automated virus nucleic acid extraction equipment, MGISP-960, and MGI's high-throughput automated sample transfer processing system, MGISTP-7000. Moreover, the MGISP-960, equipped in the car, makes high throughout in small space possible and improves the efficiency of nucleic acid extraction and detection. “The equipment has been operated in many "Huo-Yan" labs around the world, and over 1000 MGISP-960 have been delivered to more than 30 countries and regions.
The Test Route Spans 400 km
at an Altitude of 3,500 Meters
Due to the complicated terrain of Sichuan Province, it is important for the vehicle-mounted “Huo-Yan” lab to have the ability to cope with the long-distance and high-altitude environment, so it can better enable the vehicle-mounted mobile Lab to provide better service to the local people.
Xuefeng -- After-sales Engineer of MGI
Xuefeng explained that, unlike traditional laboratories, vehicle-mounted nucleic acid testing labs have a stronger ability to adapt to environmental changes. In order to achieve this goal, MGI’s engineers took the Shudu bus as the starting point, and the Hongyuan County Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the ending point to draw up a test route for the whole journey of nearly 400 kilometers. "Through continuous monitoring of the detection data and regular feedback to ensure that the data remains accurate even at an altitude of 3,500 meters, we are relieved,” said Xue Feng.
The vehicle-mounted “Huo-Yan” lab is a 0 to 1 process. It has requirements for both high throughput and intelligence, This all-in-one solution carries a lot of efforts and persistence of a large number of MGI technicians, as well as the strong support from our partners. Despite the limited time, and there are many challenges, We, MGIers, always complete each task one step at a time. The story of Xu Kai, Xuefeng, and Hongfeng is the epitome of every MGIer.
Group Photo of MGI Team
With the successful launch of “Huo-Yan” Mobile PCR Lab, it means that MGI will provide ‘hardcore technology’ support for epidemic prevention and control in the upcoming fall and winter of this year.