Scientists and researchers around the world are hard at work studying the Coronavirus. As they seek to trace it, understand it, uncover treatments and a vaccine, they require precision laboratory equipment and weighing instruments. This is where OHAUS plays an important role.
The challenges created by the pandemic are numerous and far-reaching, but we remain committed to the laboratories who rely on us. We are steadfast in our focus on reliably precise products, efficient distribution, quality customer service, and, of course, safety – of our employees and customers. We’ve also been listening closely to our customers and suppliers and have been exploring product enhancements to further help support the fight against Covid-19.
Tracking COVID-19 Through Wastewater
In many parts of the world, research is underway to detect the coronavirus from municipal wastewater. Earlier this year, scientists in Europe and Australia made a number of interesting discoveries by studying communal wastewater samples, and now similar work is being done in the U.S., Canada, and other countries.
The concept of testing wastewater samples from sewage is not new. It’s been done in the past to track anything from infections to drug abuse. Now they are being studied to determine the existence of COVID-19 in communities and could give advance warning of where a second wave is taking shape. These tests could serve to help communities determine in advance if they may need to take additional social prevention measures.
Specialized teams that include scientists, government officials, and water management administrators are being formed in cities throughout the world to investigate samples from local sewers. Communal wastewater is thought to be a better barometer of disease detection than traditional tests. Individual testing can require a two-week incubation period before the Coronavirus appears. However, with the urine and defecation found in wastewater, the virus can be detected after about three days.
In Hungary, expert teams are conducting a multi-phase survey. In phase one, they are investigating changes in the wastewater of nine Hungarian cities over five months. The researchers take new samples every two weeks in the affected settlements. According to the researchers, analysis of wastewater can be a useful tool for tracking hot spots and signaling the re-emergence of infection.
The center of this project is the city of Nagykanizsa. MOL, one of the largest corporations in Hungary, as well as Pannon University, one of the country's largest colleges, have been supporting the research by providing free use of lab space. OHAUS has helped supply these labs with discounted precision equipment.
Testing is conducted in accord
ance with strict industry and government standards, as well as World Health Organization recommendations. The primary goal is to display the RNA or DNA actually obtained from the samples. Because the useful samples are infected, laboratory safety measures are of utmost concern. In addition to scientists wearing full PPE, like gloves, hats, face shields and foot coverings, all equipment must be easy to clean and sanitize. This is a signature feature of all OHAUS scales and lab equipment and it’s our distinct pleasure to play a small, but important part in this ongoing, worldwide effort.
Continue reading to learn which OHAUS products work best in this type of lab environment.
Outfitting a Lab for Covid-19 Research
Examining virus-infected samples is a delicate procedure that requires expertise and precision laboratory equipment that is easy to sanitize.
Sample preparation calls for the concentration and extraction of viral nucleic acids. For this, your lab should include a centrifuge, stirrer, incubator, shaker, and vortex mixer. A high-quality centrifuge is essential for particle separation to extract the cells you wish to examine. OHAUS offers the Frontier line of high-quality refrigerated centrifuges, allowing researchers the ability to create reproducible results without worrying about machine wear and tear. OHAUS offers a variety of rotors, including sealed rotors to help protect users from hazardous aerosols.
To help you find the Frontier centrifuge that best meets your needs, OHAUS offers a handy product selector guide. The OHAUS Frontier FC5916R Centrifuge is powerful and versatile, offering flexibility for low and high speed applications. This is important since preparation for virus sample examination requires both low and high g force.
To demonstrate how these OHAUS instruments can support your Covid-19 research, we cite this waste treatment experiment performed by scientists in Hungary.
Concentration and Extraction of viral nucleic acids
The concentration was done by known methods. To get the precipitate, the water samples were first centrifuged at low speed. The OHAUS Frontier FC5916R Centrifuge is ideal for this step.
The precipitate was then re-solved in 10 ml liquid floating above the precipitate. Ten ml of chloroform was then added and the mixture was vortexed and further purified by low speed, low temperature centrifugation. A mini vortex mixer is needed for this step and OHAUS offers four models to suit your needs.
The liquids from steps one and two were then combined and concentrated by stirring using a magnetic stirrer. For this step, the Guardian 5000 series of hotplate stirrers are more than sufficient. These precision stirrers offer reliable, high-speed, high-temperature stirring with numerous safety features.
Next the samples were further processed using low speed, low temperature centrifugation and the precipitate was collected and used to form a lysis buffer.
Extraction of viral nucleic acids was done by known methods. Sediment from the lysis buffer was then incubated at 56 °C for 25 minutes. This can be done using the OHAUS Incubating Heavy Duty Orbital Shaker. OHAUS Heavy Duty Shakers are designed for applications with loads up to 16 kg with uniform chamber temperature controlled by an exclusive Opti-Flow Forced Ventilation System. All models feature triple eccentric drive systems for stable shaking with microprocessor-control for reliable shaking action.
Following multiple incubation steps, the sample was centrifuged at high speed under a temperature-controlled environment. After the liquid was separated, a silica pellet remained and was cleaned in multiple steps.
Finally, the silica pellet was further centrifuged at high speed to separate out the nucleic acids. For sample purification, the OHAUS Frontier FC5916R Centrifuge is equipped to handle high-speed spinning. The resulting sample was then put in cold storage awaiting further examination (PCR test).
However long the battle against Coronavirus takes, OHAUS will be there to support scientists with precision instruments and unwavering support.