Incubators helpful in PCR test labs

May 2021 BINDER provides support during the pandemic

Incubators are needed in PCR test labs


Corona rapid tests help identify infected individuals as well as break chains of infection. Standard antigen tests detect SARS-CoV-2 proteins using specific antibodies. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are even more accurate, meaning even more specific and sensitive, and are used, for example, by a large lab in Vienna, Austria to analyze saliva samples around the clock. BINDER incubators are used successfully in an earlier process step.


Up to 60 postal buses deliver up to 200,000 sample tubes per day and more than 400 employees evaluate several liters of saliva every day. It's an undertaking that requires speed as well as safe and reliable equipment. So it’s no wonder that the lab has a number of BINDER incubators that are just waiting to heat new sample racks to the specified temperature to feed them into the automated analysis process. In each case, ten samples are pooled by a pipetting robot to multiply the efficiency for the mostly negative samples and mixed with a reagent mix. Only when a positive sample is encountered does the pool need to be dissolved to identify the positive individual sample. The RT-PCR is the central process step. In this process, viral RNA, if present in the sample, is enzymatically recopied into DNA using very specific gene probes (reverse transcription, RT) and exponentially multiplied (PCR). Thus, only samples containing SARS-CoV-2 RNA yield a large amount of specific DNA, which can then be easily detected.


That means the sensitivity of this method is so much greater than antigen tests, because even very few viral RNA molecules are amplified to such adegree that they can be reliably detected. And the specificity is so great because unique gene probes can be designed for the viral RNA that do not match any other known sequence and can be easily synthesized.