April 28, 2020 - How Biotech Labs are Adjusting to the COVID-19 Era

As an industry that relies on having employees in the lab, biotech has been disrupted by COVID-19 and the dramatic and unexpected set of changes it has introduced. For many scientists, working remotely is a brand new concept. And yet, the scientific industry is also being called upon to develop tests, therapies, and vaccines that put this crisis to rest.

To share how biotechs around the world are managing their projects, caring for their people, and supporting the community during coronavirus, we built a guide with best practices and unique ideas from our customers.

April 21, 2020 - The Race to Develop Treatments and Vaccines for COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has now reached nearly every country in the world, with cases being confirmed in more than 200 countries and territories. As of April 10th, 2020, there have been over 1.6 million cases reported globally. The actual numbers of cases are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, unreported cases, and suspicions that some countries have not been accurately reporting the scope of their outbreaks.

With COVID-19 continuing to spread across the globe, many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are racing to develop vaccines and effective therapeutics to address the pandemic. As the premier laboratory informatics service provider for the life science industry, Astrix Technology Group is proud to support many of the companies on the front lines in this effort. In this blog, we will highlight some of the groundbreaking work being done right now by our customers to combat COVID-19.

April 14, 2020 - How biotechs are racing to develop COVID-19 treatments – Part 2 of 3

The novel coronavirus has had sweeping effects on the world at large since its emergence last winter, and it will no doubt continue to affect and change the world we live in. As we do our part to shelter-in-place and practice social distancing, there are leagues of scientists and researchers working around the clock on therapeutics to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV 2.

This article is the second in a three-part series covering the response of biotech companies to the COVID-19 crisis. The first article in this series is: How biotechs are racing to develop COVID-19 tests.

April 14, 2020 - COVID-19 Testing and the Important Role of a LIMS

We are living in unprecedented times right now with the recent outbreak of SAR-CoV-2 and the global emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, as never before, our nation’s attention is focused on laboratories and the diagnostic industry at large. The quality of diagnostic testing during this time of international crisis will be talked about for years to come. Fortunately, many companies have joined the fight to help facilitate COVID-19 testing, as laboratories quickly ramp up to add this to their testing menu. Yet, while many of the news headlines focus on instrument manufacturers and new testing techniques, one element that is often overlooked is the critical role of a laboratory’s LIMS.

April 14, 2020 - How biotechs are racing to develop COVID-19 tests – Part 1 of 3

The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes (COVID-19) are sweeping the world. The US’s ability to rapidly and accurately test patients, not to mention their health care providers, is critical to containing the virus. That said, it has proved to be one of the biggest challenges for our country in recent weeks.

This article is the first in a three-part series covering the response of biotech companies to the COVID-19 crisis. The second article in this series is: How biotechs are racing to develop COVID-19 treatments.

April 14, 2020 - What You Need to Know About Lab Billing Software Integrations

When it comes to managing a clinical laboratory service, getting procedures done on time and accurately is only part of the total equation. After health records have been acquired, tests have been run, and results compiled, someone has to pay for the work performed. In the modern health care landscape, executing billing practices correctly might be more time-consuming and labor-intensive than any other part of the job. But when laboratories can easily interface with their billing systems directly from their laboratory information management system, it’s possible to gain greater efficiency and incredible cost savings.

April 7, 2020 - National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Updates

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is our nation’s medical research agency and strives to make scientific discoveries that improve health and save lives. Founded in 1870, the NIH conducts its own scientific research through its Intramural Research Program (IRP), which supports approximately 1,200 principal investigators and more than 4,000 postdoctoral fellows conducting basic, translational and clinical research. In this blog, we will highlight recent ground-breaking NIH research.

April 7, 2020 - Importance of Method Validation to Public Health

You can’t escape the knowledge that the world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus.  Tracking and slowing the spread of disease have been on everyone’s mind for much of the year. We know that this will be difficult to do without rapid and accurate testing, which has been in short supply in the United States. The U.S. must produce or acquire accurate tests, quickly and in high volumes, which is why many are pushing to loosen regulations to get more tests into the hands of health care professionals. The laboratory informatics experts at CSols have a unique insight into laboratory testing and data analysis, and we have been discussing—remotely, of course—how our experience with successful LIMS implementations can help experts predict and prevent future pandemics.

April 1, 2020 - COVID-19 Testing for the Physician Office Laboratory (POL)

COVID-19 Testing for the Physician Office Laboratory (POL)

Like it or not, physician or not, the current pandemic is already affecting you in some ways or others. And those physicians on the front line seeing patients cannot avoid being involved. If you have testing equipment of your own, at least you may be able to recoup some of the costs of seeing potential COVID-19 patients, handling specimens and meeting reporting requirements.

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March 31, 2020 - Build A Dashboard To Track The Spread of Coronavirus Using Dash: Real-time view of globally confirmed, recovered and deaths coronavirus (COVID-19) cases

COVID-19 Global Cases Monitor

Last month, I published four posts to share with you my experience in using matplotlib. Benefit from its full control of elements on a given graph, matplotlib is deemed as a fundamental python library for data visualisation and used by many other libraries (e.g. seaborn and pandas) as plotting module. This is also why I think learning matplotlib is an essential part for being a practitioner in data science, which helps to build up in-depth understanding about logic behind data visualisation tools.

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March 31, 2020 - How biotechs are racing to develop COVID-19 tests

The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes (COVID-19) are sweeping the world. The US’s ability to rapidly and accurately test patients, not to mention their health care providers, is critical to containing the virus. That said, it has proved to be one of the biggest challenges for our country in recent weeks.

Much has already been written about what initially went wrong with the coronavirus testing in the US and why the US government and CDC lagged behind other developed nations in deploying diagnostics. This article will instead focus on the remarkable companies, institutions, and clinical labs that are rising to the challenge by working around the clock to produce high volumes of accurate and reliable tests.

In addition to the COVID-19 tests that are already in use, companies are prototyping groundbreaking new diagnostics. These new tests have the potential to revolutionize COVID-19 detection now and chart the course for the future of infectious disease diagnostics.

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March 31, 2020 - Pittcon 2020 – Covid-19 Changes Everything

The Pittcon 2020 roundup for those that didn’t make there.

Pittcon 2020, the annual laboratory science conference, had a very different feel to it this year. If the show had been held just two weeks later, with much of the USA and Europe in lock-down, it would not had gone ahead. Although the USA had not at that stage seen many cases of Coronavirus this was the word on everyone’s lips as they walked the exhibition hall and conference. Several booths were left empty with signs saying the exhibitor was “Absent due to travel restrictions”. Certainly the most popular thing on the Autoscribe stand were individual packets of antimicrobial hand wipes which we had bought along to give-away.

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March 31, 2020 - A place to share COVID-19 resources with the scientific community

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the world is looking to the scientific community for help. We know that scientists everywhere are mobilizing to characterize the virus, to replicate and study it in lab, to perform testing and analyze results, to develop next-gen diagnostics, and to quickly develop vaccines and antiviral treatments.

To support these efforts, we have set up a COVID-19 resources webpage that points to sequences, protocols, and other work that has been shared by scientists for public use. Our hope is that these resources will be beneficial to the greater scientific community, especially to scientists who are actively addressing this challenge.

We are accepting submissions from scientists and will be updating the page regularly. You may share data in Benchling — protocols, sequences, experimental results. You may also share an existing resource with us — a pre-print, a published protocol. Please find instructions for contributing below.

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March 31, 2020 - Tips for Using Pipeline Pilot as an Integration Platform

One of the most common integration platforms used in laboratory informatics is Pipeline Pilot from BIOVIA. Whether part of a large enterprise software implementation or a project to pass data between two applications, integration projects always present challenges. In the laboratory environment, achieving integration goes beyond merely exchanging data between applications. Laboratory equipment/automation, specialized data sets, and validation complicate an already difficult task and create unique challenges. In addition to the goals of streamlining business operations, eliminating data silos and minimizing redundant data entry, integration also has to be done in such a way that supports regulatory compliance and promotes data integrity.

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March 31, 2020 - QLIMS for Cannabis Companies – Part 3 of 3: Medicinal Cannabis Manufacturing

The final part of this series will focus on how QLIMS supports the manufacturing of medicinal cannabis products.

The focus will be data management, final product formulations, compliance with GMP guidelines and workflow tracking.

Medicinal Cannabis Manufacturing

A large number of medicinal cannabis facilities set up across Australia are focused on manufacturing for local and exporting. As such the sampling numbers are going to be very high so a system to effectively manage all that data, maintain traceability and help keep compliant with GMP will be important.
As seen from our previous posts, no matter what data you are looking to record and track a LIMS can help.

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March 24, 2020 - LIMS and COVID-19 Testing & Reporting

LIMS and COVID-19 Testing & Reporting

Known variously as coronavirus, COVID-19, novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV and SARS-CoV-2, the current global pandemic has been reported in 191 Countries and Territories around the world as of March 23, 2020, with over 350,000 confirmed cases and more than 15,000 deaths. These figures are being tracked in real time by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

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March 23, 2020 - Disaster Management for the Lab

Disaster Management for the Lab

Disaster management is, in a nutshell, about preparedness. Of course, the primary challenge in preparedness is anticipating just what it is for which you are preparing. In the case of disaster management, the possible scenarios vary a great deal – with some being virtually impossible to foresee – so any management plan faces potential failure right from the outset.

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March 23, 2020 - A Conversation with Dr. Nigel Mouncey, Director of the Joint Genome Institute: The next frontier of genomic breakthroughs

Nigel Mouncey, PhD is the Director of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science National User Facility located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Previously, Dr. Mouncey held increasing leadership roles at Dow AgroSciences, most recently as the Director of R&D for Bioengineering and Bioprocessing. Before that, he led research groups at DSM Nutritional Products and Roche Vitamins. We sat down with Dr. Mouncey to discuss the most exciting ongoing developments in genomic research and how data will continue to shape life science R&D.

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March 23, 2020 - Generating FAIR — Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable — Resources with Marchantia, a Prototype for Plant Synthetic Biology

“Classic!” That’s a veteran lab member’s response when a new PhD student recognizes that a plasmid doesn’t have the expected sequence. I have personally heard this, and I have seen it happening around me many more times. DNA constructs from other labs, or even from former members of your own lab, can often be poorly documented. As a result, scientists waste time and resources by having to recheck or redo previous work. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data management challenges in a highly dynamic and resource-limited academic environment. In this environment, working practices and structural constraints have tended to prioritize innovation before documentation. Fortunately, this has been changing for some time, as data-driven biology and society have demanded well-characterized research and open science in order to make research more reproducible and more transparent.

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March 23, 2020 - Meeting ISBER Recommendations for Biobank Management

LIMS can contribute significantly to the efficient management of any biobank facility. With every aspect of specimen handling from collection through storage, processing, distribution, and eventual disposal to be considered as well as the need to manage all the associated data and information, ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories) has published a set of recommendations (the ISBER Best Practices: Recommendations for Repositories Fourth Edition) for the most effective practices for managing biological and environmental specimen collections and repositories. ISBER has also created a very useful self-assessment tool to allow biobanks to evaluate how well their facilities already comply with the best practices. In a recent webinar Autoscribe Informatics explained how the Matrix Gemini Biobank Manager configuration addresses the recommendations from ISBER. This webinar is still available to view.