A staff member of BIOR, Latvia's Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment, operates smart automated DNA extraction equipment provided by China's MGI Tech Co., Ltd. in Riga, Latvia (Photo by Janis/Xinhua)
RIGA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Latvia, Chinese companies have been helping the Baltic country to fight COVID-19 by supplying equipment for automated sample extraction and gene sequencing.
When the second COVID-19 wave hit Latvia last autumn, the country's testing capacity proved insufficient. To help solve this problem, China's MGI Tech Co., Ltd. provided BIOR, Latvia's Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment, with smart automated DNA extraction equipment to increase its testing capacity.
"The COVID-19 testing equipment provided by MGI can prepare nearly 10,000 samples every day. It saves manpower significantly, has high testing accuracy and eliminates human errors," Olga Valcina, BIOR deputy head in charge of laboratories, said lately.
MGI has also provided Latvia with gene sequencing equipment to help scientists of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre (BMC) sequence the virus samples to determine the origins of the virus and identify new mutations.
"MGI's gene sequencers provide the Latvian scientists with an opportunity that has not been available before. It's very helpful for us to manage the situation and the costs are at least three times cheaper and the quality is even better compared to other technologies," said Professor Janis Klovins, director of BMC.
At the end of January 2021, MGI Latvia, the subsidiary of China's MGI, launched the production of automated and integrated container laboratories, aiming to improve the local COVID-19 testing capacity and help Latvia and other European countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
MGI Container Labs are made by converting shipping containers into laboratories capable of processing 3,000 samples (single tube) a day. The laboratory's automated process greatly reduces lab technicians' risk of infection and minimizes the manual workload. Test results can be obtained in four hours and the labs can be transported and deployed conveniently in various locations for large-scale testing.
Hou Yong, head of MGI Europe and Africa, told Xinhua recently that the Chinese company wants to help Latvia fight the pandemic by boosting its testing capabilities.
Founded in 2016, MGI focuses on R&D, production and sales of DNA sequencing instruments, reagents, and related products to support life science research, agriculture, precision medicine and healthcare. It has set up branches inthe U.S, Japan and Latvia.