Coronavirus testing labs are facing a steadily growing volume of tests needed with no immediate end in sight. These labs are tasked with managing their increasing demand through smart inventory control. In a recent White House briefing, coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx stressed to testing laboratories: “Make sure you have enough pipette tips, pipettors, and all of the equipment that you need… you know what you need. Make sure you have that and have that available for these tests.”
Although this advice may initially seem superfluous, Ms. Birx makes an important point. Pipette tips are not distributed along with COVID-19 test kits, so testing centers have to find their own ways to source these single-use plastic products from a dwindling supply.
Ten pipette tips are necessary to conduct each coronavirus test. Laboratories need one pipette tip for a sample, five as reagent tips, and four more for the PCR setup process. Although the sample tip is not reusable, Grenova’s products are able to wash and sanitize reagent and setup tips so that they can be reused up to 30 times each. As coronavirus continues to spread and demand for pipette tips increases, Grenova’s products will become a crucial purchase for laboratories that want to ensure the accessibility of COVID tests.
As the number of tests increase, laboratories are scrambling to maintain their single-use resources. Currently, the United States conduct at least 400,000 tests daily and has used over 21.5 million tests in total. As Phase Two continues and Phase Three approaches, summer camps will begin, students will return to their universities, and travel will increase to normal levels. This departure from social distancing will mean a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as in the number of tests. New York governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “We know as a fact that reopening has very often caused problems. This is a very real possibility.” Coronavirus cases are expected to increase by 18% by August, and will grow even more after the start of Phase Three.
Testing centers are already struggling to control their inventories and cannot continue to purchase more and more pipette tips from their already overwhelmed suppliers. The American Society for Microbiology recently released a statement warning, “Increased demand for testing has the potential to exhaust supplies needed to perform the testing itself.” These supplies, such as pipette tips, nitrile gloves, and cotton swabs, are as necessary to the success of the test than the supplies included in testing kits. The safe reuse of these supplies should be prioritized by laboratories to help provide an accurate test to all of those in need.
The United States, and the world as a whole, depends on laboratories to make COVID-19 tests safe and accessible to all. Testing centers should prioritize sustaining consumables, controlling their inventory, and maintaining their resources in response to pending shortages. As a solution, smart labs are washing and reusing pipette tips with Grenova technology to control their most important resources required to fight COVID-19.