Conquering the avalanche of samples

At the end of the year 2019, the COO of the Swiss laboratory Biolytix AG caught the new COVID virus. He volunteered to be the test subject and underwent all the tests himself. At the beginning of 2020, Biolytix, like many other laboratories, was caught up in the great Corona sample avalanche. A spirit of research and entrepreneurial foresight led Biolytix to focus intensively on the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. The researchers discovered that the saliva of test subjects in the early morning, of all body fluids, contains the highest concentration of viruses. With this knowledge, they developed and validated a detection method of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in saliva samples. The method to detect the viruses in the saliva has the advantage of being much more scalable as the sampling is done by the patients themselves. It does not require skilled personnel as it is the case with swab samples.

At the beginning of the pandemic, it quickly became clear that testing capacity was needed. In cooperation with the authorities, it was possible to set up a test center in Muttenz near Basel in a short time. In addition to the expansion of the premises into a laboratory, including cabling and IT infrastructure, PCR equipment and consumables also had to be procured – a project that represented an entrepreneurial masterpiece given the scarce availability of laboratory materials. At the beginning of the pandemic, the sample throughput was relatively modest with 500 samples per week. However, it increased to 50’000 samples per week in spring 2021. In parallel, the number of employees grew from 20 to 120. At the height of the pandemic, Biolytix’ sample throughput was an incredible 150’000 samples per week.

Biolytix has been working with the proven laboratory software Limsophy LIMS from AAC Infotray AG for many years. The enormous increase in sample throughput required an optimization of the digitalization of various company processes. «The project managers at AAC Infotray AG are all natural scientists», explains the COO, «they speak the same language as we do and know exactly how to adapt the software for us.» The basic prerequisite for the digitization of laboratory processes is the adaptability of the laboratory software. As a service laboratory, Biolytix is dedicated to offering its customers the best and most flexible solution. Due to the enormous increase in sample throughput, almost all company processes were affected. They could be digitized by the targeted expansion of modules, automations, adaptations of interfaces, suitable data input dialogs and evaluations by means of the laboratory software. Quality assurance has always been given the highest priority. Biolytix is particularly proud of the fact that the analysis results could always be delivered within 24 hours after receipt of the samples despite the immense avalanche of samples,. Data protection was taken into account with a suitable concept. The combination of software, laboratory and digitization expertise has created an ecosystem at the location in Muttenz that is ideally suited to handling the enormous avalanche of samples.