Automated wash and reuse of disposable pipette tips in a SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR diagnostic pipeline

Sanne S. Berger*, Jonas Høgberg, Franziska Kuntke, Louisa Obari, Helene Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic led to global shortages in laboratory consumables, in particular for automated PCR. The Technical University of Denmark supported Danish hospitals from 2020 to 2022, conducting SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR on around 10,000 patient samples daily. We encountered shortages of disposable pipette tips used with automated liquid handlers that transferred oropharyngeal swab samples to 96-well microplates before RNA extraction. To enable tip reuse, we developed an automated protocol for washing tips with a 0.5 % sodium hypochlorite solution. This effectively eliminated carry-over of genomic material and the wash solution remained effective when stored in an open reservoir at ambient temperatures for 24 h. A three-day validation setup demonstrated the robustness of the tip wash protocol. Reducing the number of tips used for transferring samples to 96-well microplates from 96 to 8 enabled us to mitigate pipette tip shortages, lower costs, and minimize plastic waste generation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116241
JournalDiagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Automated
  • PCR
  • Pipette tip
  • Reuse
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Wash protocol


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