Our newest device the so-called Swabster helps us automate an important step in genotyping. This high-precision device accurately places cheek swabs in their predetermined position on the sample plate and removes the plastic stem, eliminating traditional sources of human error.
Approximately 10,000 samples from around the world arrive at our lab daily. These samples are analyzed for HLA and several other parameters, such as CMV status or blood group. A critical initial step is the faithful transfer of samples to a “test” plate. Since the end of December 2021, the Swabster has performed this step in our lab. Our new Swabster is a custom-made robot and the first of its kind all over the globe.
The new Swabster takes over the manual step
The Swabster takes over the inconvenient error-prone manual workflow, resulting in a robust and efficient initial sample processing step. Instead of three lab technicians, only one is involved in creating the LIMS panel and transferring the samples to the Swabster. The Swabster automates the moving of the swab to the correct plate well and destemming the head.
The current Swabster instrument is still an alpha version. A newer version will arrive at the lab later this year. This model will be capable of creating the two plates needed per donor for HLA and CMV analysis in parallel. Eventually, eight instruments from this version will be available at the lab to process all incoming samples.