20 June 2016 SATVI acquires robot to assist with RNA extractions
Researchers are the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) have acquired a Tecan Freedom EVO 150, to be used as a robotic liquid handling platform. They will conduct RNA extractions from PAXgene whole blood tubes and downstream cDNA synthesis steps of ±11,000 samples acquired over 12 months. The RNA will be analyzed by qRT-PCR using the correlate of risk (COR) test to measure risk of TB disease.
A new TB vaccine trial begins in July 2016, dubbed CORTIS (Correlate of Risk Targeted Intervention Study) to impact TB control. The PI is Associate Professor Mark Hatherill, and the research is funded mainly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the SAMRC-SHIP programme. They will test whether short course preventative therapy reduces the rate of incident TB disease, compared to standard of care (active surveillance) in COR+ persons.
The robot is fully customizable and once the study has been completed, may be retro-fitted for other purposes.