Vitro releases a PCR platform that multiplies the current diagnostic capacity of COVID-19 -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


Vitro S.A. (VitroGroup)

Vitro releases a PCR platform that multiplies the current diagnostic capacity of COVID-19

  • The combination of a new RNA extraction test, a SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test and a traceability software for the OT-2 Opentrons robots already available in over 15 large Spanish hospitals, will allow hospitals to optimize their use and multiply the current capacity to perform daily PCRs with their OT-2 robots in a fully automated way.
  • Vitro S.A. becomes the official distributor of Opentrons in Spain, and validates its reagents and software in the Opentrons robots located at the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital (Seville).
  • All Vitro’s reagents are produced in Spain. Additionally, Vitro is licensee of the extraction technology developed by the Carlos III Health Institute for the Opentrons platforms, and thus eliminating the dependence on the supply of tests and reagents manufactured outside Spain.
  • Besides, the new RT-PCR FluCovid test by Vitro released in August allows hospitals to differentiate patients infected with influenza from those infected with SARS-CoV-2 in a single test.
Madrid, October 01, 2020. Vitro S.A., the corporate group based in Seville and specialized in the development, manufacture and distribution of instruments, software and reagents for In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD), has just clinically validated its RNA extraction test -first step in the analysis of gene expression- and its RT-PCR-SARS-CoV-2 test so that, along with its own traceability software OpenVTS -designed to speed up and optimize processes- they can be used on the Opentrons robots already available in over 15 large Spanish hospitals achieving to multiply the current diagnostic capacity, which is key during these moments when new COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring.

Up to now, there was a lack of a comprehensive solution that prevented the optimization of the Opentrons robots for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in most hospitals: the lack of a technology capable of providing reagents, traceability software, optimized working protocols and the capacity to integrate these robots into the IT systems. These constraints have been finally solved by Vitro, whose reagents, protocol and software adapted to Opentrons allow performing hundreds of PCRs on a daily basis with just two OT-2 robots, multiplying the current capacity and allowing hospitals to scale their diagnostic capacity with the simultaneous use of 2 to 10 robots.

Vitro, with over 30 years of experience in the supply of reagents and diagnostic platforms to Spanish hospitals, has made major breakthroughs during the months in which the COVID-19 virus advanced in Spain. Therefore, it released a new RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 in April, validated by the Carlos III Health Institute with 100% sensitivity and specificity, and in July it became the first company in the field of hospital diagnosis to commercialize a multiplex test capable of analyzing 23 virus causing respiratory diseases simultaneously, including the diagnosis of COVID-19. Lastly, in August it released its second RT-PCR Flu-Covid kit to the market, becoming the first company in the field to create a CE IVD kit capable of diagnosing Influenza A, Influenza B and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) with the same test, allowing a differential diagnosis of these viruses in a key moment right before the beginning of the influenza season.

The CEO of Vitro, Javier Fernández, stated: “Vitro is one of the diagnostic test manufacturers in Spain that is strongly aiding the hospitals of our country in the diagnosis of COVID-19. We have already developed three different diagnostic tests for this virus in the last five months, proving our technological capacity to solve complex diagnostic needs in a short period of time. The development of a set of three tests, protocols and software by our company to implement them in the super-robots Opentrons, unique for their simplicity, sturdiness and low cost, allows multiplying the current capacity of processing PCRs at the hospitals where the Opentrons robots are used. This major improvement, along with the capacity of diagnosing infections with influenzaviruses and Covid simultaneously, the arrival of autumn and facing this second wave of infections, substantially strengthens the diagnostic capacity of our hospitals and diagnostic labs”.

Cost reduction and logistic enhancements

The experience of Vitro in molecular biology has allowed it to become the first licensee in the RNA extraction technology developed by the Carlos III Health Institute in Opentrons robots for the diagnosis of COVID-19. This new extraction technology, validated in thousands of clinical specimens, allows the hospitals to perform thousands of PCRs on a daily basis in an automated way using the OT-2 Opentrons robots. This capacity represents an enormous advantage in terms of cost reduction, and in addition, the national production of Vitro of this type of reagents is decisive in allowing the large hospitals in Spain to have a national supply source, avoiding the logistic problems of importing tests and reagents manufactured outside Spain.

In addition, the North American company Opentrons has signed a distribution contract with Vitro for its OT-2 robots for the Spanish market, thus recognizing the capacity of the Andalusian company to develop innovative hospital diagnostic platforms. Jon Martinez, director of sales at Opentrons, asserts: “Vitro has proven to be a very capable technological partner to help Spanish institutions and organizations to configure and optimize the use of our robots. We are very excited to continue working with Vitro to increase and improve the use of the Opentrons robotic platforms by new users in Spain who need the assistance and help of a local technological and industrial partner”.

The Virgen del Rocío University Hospital (Seville) has been the first hospital to benefit from an immediate and significant increase in its COVID-19 diagnostic capacity through the use of the "super-robots” Opentrons combined with Vitro’s PCR technology and reagents. The pharmacist specializing in Microbiology and Clinical Biochemistry, Pedro Camacho Martínez, as head of the section, has made an enormous effort, dedicating many hours of work in collaborating with Vitro to fine-tune its Opentrons robots, which has allowed the Microbiology Service to manage a significant increase in the number of PCRs processed each day: "The installation of Vitro technology and reagents in our Opentrons robots has allowed our hospital to considerably increase its capacity, which is essential in view of the increase in the number of PCRs to be performed every day for the diagnosis of COVID-19".

Vitro is in the phase of implementing this important technological improvement in a large part of the rest of the Opentrons-user hospitals, and is awaiting the possible award by INGESA of the supply of Opentrons robots and Covid technology, protocols and diagnostic reagents developed by Vitro and the Carlos III Health Institute to the rest of the Spanish healthcare sector. 

The impact of Vitro's technology, reagents, protocol and software in a hospital that has, for example, 8 Opentrons robots, working 24 hours a day, would allow its diagnostic laboratory to perform up to 4500 PCRs daily with minimal staff intervention. Thus, hospitals have great flexibility to increase or decrease this capacity, increasing or reducing the Opentrons OT-2 robots used simultaneously as needed.

Exhibitor Data Sheet