Liquid Based Microbiology is the Key to Optimal Automation Utilization

August 24, 2018

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Ever since the revolutionary flocked swab (FLOQSwabs™), which unlike traditional swabs, have no inner to entrap sample, COPAN has been redefining and standardizing diagnostics in Microbiology.  Microbiology handles a huge variety of sample types with varying viscosities and containers.  Dealing with this diversity in samples types means that specimen set up is very manual. Before the words “Full Laboratory Automation” were ever uttered, the concept of “Liquid Based Microbiology” (LBM™) was developed. LBM™ is the term coined to define the line of COPAN products which transform previously challenging samples into liquid format to standardize and simplify collection, transport and preservation of nearly all clinical samples in Microbiology.  The introduction of ESwab™ for liquid-based swab collection, was followed by three additional products, covering the full range of sample types that enter the Microbiology lab.

The Timeline to Liquid Based Microbiology
ESwab™
Launched in 2006, ESwab™ is the first collection and transport system with the ability to maintain viability of aerobic, anaerobic, and fastidious bacteria at room and refrigerator temperature for up to 48 hours. Comprising of 1mL of Liquid Amies and a FLOQSwab®, the system elutes the entire sample into the transport medium. The superior elution provides up to 10 identical aliquots of liquid sample suspension to perform multiple tests from the same specimen. A collection device that maintains the viability of both aerobes and aerobes cuts down the cost for laboratories by being able to condense their range of products in stock.

SnotBuster™
Arguably the laboratory’s least favorite sample, sputum was next on Copan’s hit list for sample simplification. SnotBuster™ is a mucolytic agent for liquefying sputum samples. Its active ingredient Dithiotreitol (DTT) allows for the emulsification of sputum without affecting the morphology, growth of pathogens or microscopic staining. This means easier, more consistent planting and streaking of sputum specimens.

FecalSwab® | March 2015
A convenient stool sample collection system, FecalSwab® converts solid or semi-solid specimens into liquid form for enteric diagnostics. It transports the sample in easy to use, automation ready tubes. It can be used as for direct from stool collection or as a rectal swab, with a version that comes equipped with an intuitive stopper.  The rectal kit is particularly helpful for pediatrics or in times of epidemic when sample is either difficult to obtain or urgent for diagnosis within the therapeutic window.

UriSponge™ | March 2018
The most recent product to join the Liquid Based Microbiology (LBM™) family, UriSponge™ is an advanced system for the collection, transport and preservation of urine specimens from the collection site to the testing laboratory. At the collection site, after a patient provides their sample, UriSponge™ is dipped into the sample cup, recapped and sent to the lab.  Without a vacuum and hypodermic needle system, the risk of stick injuries are eliminated. At the laboratory, UriSponge™ specimens are processed for the cultivation of bacteria and Candida albicans, as well as for molecular testing.

Optimal Automation with COPAN’s Liquid Based Microbiology
The realization of these four products means that nearly every sample type that comes into the laboratory, is now liquefied and ready to use in standard size plastic tubes, optimal for automation in Microbiology.  This standardization in Microbiology helps to streamline specimen processing, allowing busy laboratories the ability to automate up front processing and offer expanded testing capabilities.