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OpenCell Modular Covid19 Testing Laboratories in Shipping Containers

E: A connection is helpful

https://www.opencell.bio/coronavirus

Our multidisciplinary group lead by OpenCell has developed modular covid19 testing laboratories in 300sqft shipping container. Current capacity is 2400 RT-PCR tests/day (500 per 5h). The solution automates with OpenTrons liquid handling robots RNA extraction and RT-PCR. We have evaluated a range of kits and associated hardware and developed open-source solutions to enable anyone to rapidly recreate the design with the resources that they have available.

We have approached central facilities to partner, importantly one in central London which is uniquely placed for this purpose. We propose to collaborate on the establishment of a sample collection station in an already identified neighbouring space. The openly available validated workflow from the central facility will be operative in an increasing number of containers nearby scaling throughput and augmenting capability. In parallel, the container-based modular laboratory solution can be deployed easily in different areas with synergy with central testing approaches.

We clearly appreciate this is not “desktop” yet the need is in principle the same, with the advantage that our containers can be deployed outdoors, right next to locations and act as a fast route to a result. In addition to a faster clinical result, this solution can provide flexibility in deployment for key workers (hospital, carehomes, transport hubs) or local communities and in methods and in protocol / sample collection.

 

 

How quickly could this be deployed and what are the dependencies?

Open Cell has handled shipping containers for several years turning them into laboratories. At their site in White City currently hosting 70 containers, a purpose-built proof of principle modular container laboratory has a current capability of over 2400 RT-PCR tests in 24h. It uses OpenTrons (high throughput liquid handling robots) for RNA extraction with beads and has some flexibility regarding the RT-PCR methods included. QR codes are being captured to grant every sample is tracked with a unique identifier code.

 

 

What is the likely production volume?

There is an immediate opportunity for the deployment of a number of modular laboratory containers, of up to 2-3 dozens shipping containers in the first initial big validated site.

The solution is then optimally suited to be scaled up as more and more shipping containers of the required safety category (if handling viral inactivated swabs, BSL2+ is achievable) can become available through Open Cell.

Importantly the containers can be deployed and then relocated extending lifespan and optimising significantly the resources compared to the establishment of fixed facilities that can't be easily and quickly relocated.

 

 

What are the risks and barriers to using this at scale?

We believe there is a compelling case for modular validated solutions to increase the testing capability locally and synergise with central solutions. Should the inactivation and transport of samples get entirely solved, modular solutions could be in principle outperformed. Nonetheless, factoring the time it takes for samples to reach the central facilities and the sheer number of tests required we believe this is unlikely.

Furthermore it is important to establish validated tests in a credible setting. The cultural complexities of the dialogue between academia, biotech, clinical, commercial and government settings makes it less obvious to establish these synergies and carry the risk of not acknowledging this as a great solution that complement central facilities testing. Not launching this would be a severe missed opportunity.

 

 

Who are you already partnering with on this?

OpenCell has several years experience in handling containers and turning them into laboratory space.

Davide Danovi has been actively supporting this project bridging across sector, bringing in colleagues and members of the group at King's to advise on the RT-PCR steps and the analytics, aligning purposes with the Crick and applying for funding to scale.

We are in discussion with an important central London laboratory that has generously shared blueprint and validated workflow about possible synergies establishing in their proximity a shared standardised swab samples station in order to scale locally and then deploy container based laboratories.

 

 

edited on Apr 11, 2020 by Davide Danovi
Davide Danovi

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Sam Roberts Apr 11, 2020

Thanks Open Cell. Good to hear more about your model. Do you use commercially available kits for RNA extraction and if so, what type? And what PCR assay do you use?
Would also be good to hear a little more about your accreditation.

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Davide Danovi Apr 12, 2020

Thank you Sam,

RNA extraction tested with the beads (e.g. MagNAPure96) and RTqPCR sample prep fits different kits (e.g.Altona Kit for COVID-19).

Ongoing conversation to fit an already accredited protocol, happy to provide you with more details and speak if easier.

liquid handling is OpenTrons robots, open source analytics,
QR codes for unique identifiers for samples.

Modular solution, brings the tests next to the need, readily redeployable.

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Davide Danovi Apr 13, 2020

Sam, just to clarify: Solution can use commercially available kits (some have been tested). RT-PCR. For accreditation, we'd be very happy to bring in an already accredited method (discussion ongoing with London based laboratory already accredited).

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Davide Danovi Apr 13, 2020

The goal is to use and release everything open-source: avoiding any proprietary bottle necks.

Regarding RNA extraction, Open Cell have been collaborating with Bomb.bio who published an open-source protocol for RNA extraction (similar to that then published by the Crick): https://testingmethods.crowdicity.com/post/3163640

The open-source plans for converting shipping container to BSL3/2 and use of open source automation is the core concept. The open-source (or 3rd part proprietary) wetware being adapted for use on the automation systems available.

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Davide Danovi 11 months ago

We made significant progress and detailed information is now available here. We are happy to be indicated a connection if at all convenient.

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020....6625v1.full.pdf
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.20.106625v1

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Kyle Beacham Apr 13, 2020

Status label added: E

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Davide Danovi Apr 13, 2020

thank you Kyle, I appreciate the consideration. can we have info or feedback or a sense of what the labels refer to? Please do not hesitate and contact us should you require any other information.

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Kyle Beacham Apr 14, 2020

Hi Davide, information on status labels can be found here: https://testingmethods.crowdicity.com/hubbub/communitypage/108570 Thank you for your contribution.

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Davide Danovi Apr 14, 2020

many thanks Kyle, I understand it is not a desktop device. would you be able to help connecting with the relevant group?

I would be really happy to discuss details if possible, it has been getting momentum see https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6654767887028416512/.

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Kyle Beacham Apr 14, 2020

Hi Davide, I work for the company supplying the platform for this campaign - so unfortunately I cannot personally assist in connecting you with the appropriate group for further discussion. I am aware that communication is underway and someone will certainly be in touch over the next few days. Thank you.

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Davide Danovi Apr 14, 2020

Many thanks to you Kyle. Appreciated.

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michaelcrichton Apr 18, 2020

Looks like a great idea. Only comment at the moment is that it looks like a space for the users could be added at one end of the container. For example, somewhere to put on PPE etc. would be good. i.e., an area with lab PPE and a step over bench (or similar) to keep the clean clinical processing sample area separate from the entrance. This might be particularly important if this is deployed in areas not connected to other hospitals (e.g. in pandemic field hospitals).

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Davide Danovi Apr 19, 2020

thank you Michael for your comment. Yes there is a space with a locker and the areas are being defined, see the blueprint emerging here

https://www.opencell.bio/covid-19-testing-laboratories

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Davide Danovi Apr 19, 2020

Also, when combination of modular laboratories are set up one container is dedicated to the samples entry (see the multiple containers site image in link above)

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Luke Wainwright Apr 20, 2020

Dear Davide,

Many thanks for sharing the information above regarding the OpenCell Modular Covid19 Testing solution - it's really very interesting. However, as this solution does not fall within the remit of the current testing methods campaign, but is nevertheless of interest to the wider COVID-response, please refer to the following webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-the-governme...esting-capacity

Best wishes,
Luke

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Davide Danovi Apr 20, 2020

Hi Luke, sorry broken link could you share again? I am happy to discuss.

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Luke Wainwright Apr 20, 2020

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-the-governme...esting-capacity

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Bev Matthews Apr 21, 2020

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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Bev Matthews Apr 21, 2020

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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Davide Danovi Apr 21, 2020

Thank you Bev, what does this entail? Please let me know if you need more information from our end. Davide

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Dr Margot 11 months ago

Hi Davide I would like to discuss the proposed solution for a project we are working on.
Thanks
Margot
margot.gralinska@healthlinked.co.uk

Users tagged:

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Davide Danovi 11 months ago

Thank you Margot.
We made significant progress and detailed information is now available here

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020....6625v1.full.pdf
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.20.106625v1

Reply 0

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