BGI Australia Contributes to Safeguarding Queensland from COVID-19

BRISBANE, 17th Jun, 2021—Amid the growing concern from the emergence of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant in Victoria, Queensland tightens border restrictions and sustains adequate local testing capacity to keep Queenslanders safe. BGI Australia is proud to be the supplier for Pathology Queensland’s testing equipment and kits, contributing to safeguarding the people living in Queensland.

BGI’s proprietary COVID-19 Testing Solution installed in the Pathology Queensland Infectious Diseases Lab (IDL) in Herston Health Precinct officially started operating in April by running saliva samples that are collected from across the river city. Within two weeks, the lab added nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal samples to the list of sample types. The “BGI system” as dubbed by the lab staff, surpassed the 10,000 test milestone in less than a month. The integrated system is expected to handle 4,700 tests daily at maximum capacity, with a 24-hour turnaround time from swab collection at a clinic or hospital, to reported result.

Dr. Ian Mackay, the IDL’s Senior Molecular Scientist said, “our approach is to establish a diverse portfolio of advanced technologies to best serve Queenslanders. We appreciate how quickly the BGI team respond to our ongoing technical needs and how efficiently the equipment and testing kits were supplied. We are handling approximately 1,100 tests per day as there’s no community transmission in the Brisbane region, but the number we process continues to grow and we are well placed to respond should any new clusters occur in Brisbane’s future.”

With a local team of technical specialists and engineers, BGI Australia offers strong support to customers across Australia. Dr. Bicheng Yang, Director of BGI Australia, said “This project is very special for us as Brisbane is our home city, where most of the team members are based, and we are located in the same building as IDL. This certainly will benefit response time and service to ensure that everything runs smoothly and sustains the highest quality to deliver reliable results for the tests.”

The efficient, safe and reliable BGI COVID-19 Testing Solution used in the IDL covers the full testing workflow from sample transfer, RNA extraction, pre-PCR preparation to Q-PCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) test. The Solution incorporates MGI’s innovative high-throughput automation systems – MGISTP-7000 for sample transfer and MGISP-960 for sample preparation, and BGI Genomics’ Q-PCR instruments and real-time fluorescent Q-PCR kits for detecting SARS-CoV-2. All the products are registered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and have been widely used over the past year across Australia under the Security Through Accelerated Testing Initiative.

The automation systems used in the workflow minimise the need for manual handling of the samples, minimise the labour required, and significantly shorten the time required to transfer and prepare the samples, thus improving the operational efficiency and testing throughput. The running time has been optimised to return test results within 12-24 hours after sample arrival at the IDL.

Integrating tube decapping, tube recapping, barcode identification, automated liquid transfer, and negative pressure protection, MGISTP-7000 can transfer 192 samples from swab sample tubes or plain tubes to 96-Well Microplates in 40 minutes.  MGISP-960 is an automated workstation with a 96-channel pipettor head, used to extract nucleic acid, or the genetic material from the sample, and it can accommodate different sample batches to process 192 samples in 80 minutes or 32-96 samples in under 55 minutes.


About BGI Australia

BGI Australia, a subsidiary of the BGI Group (BGI), was founded in Brisbane in 2016. Supercharged with BGI’s world-leading proprietary genetic sequencing platform DNBseq™, best-in-class bioinformatic analysis capabilities and innovative healthcare solutions, BGI Australia is dedicated to facilitating cutting-edge research in healthcare, agriculture, environment and other related areas. BGI Australia is continuously seeking collaborative opportunities in the region to pursue scientific excellence by incorporating existing resources to contribute to the vision of using genomics to benefit the whole of mankind.

MGI, a member of the BGI Group, is committed to enabling effective and affordable healthcare solutions for all. Based on proprietary technology, MGI produces sequencing devices, equipment, consumables and reagents to support life science research, diagnostic pathology, medicine and healthcare.

BGI Genomics, a member of the BGI Group, is the world’s leading provider of genomic sequencing and proteomic services, now serving customers in more than 100 countries.

Media Contact

Stephanie Sun

Public Relations Director, BGI Australia


Phone: 07 3362 0475


About Pathology Queensland

The Pathology Queensland (PQ) Infectious Diseases Laboratory (IDL) is a high-throughput molecular laboratory operating in Herston, with surge capacity to assist other PQ laboratories across Queensland. After receiving, registering, and processing swabs, the IDL uses multiple PCR-based testing systems to specifically and sensitively test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, employing multiple platforms for redundancy. The IDL returns results within 24 hours of receiving samples and has the capacity to conduct evaluation, verification and validation studies.

PQ (part of Queensland Health), provides diagnostic pathology services to all Hospital and Health Services (HHS) across metro, regional and remote Queensland, offering laboratory services in the disciplines of anatomical pathology, chemical pathology, haematology, immunology, microbiology and genomics. PQ also provides an invaluable service to Queenslanders by supporting a coordinated response to incidents and disasters.

Pathology Queensland

  • has laboratories located within 35 Queensland Health hospital facilities, providing 24/7 service every day of the year
  • employs approximately 2,000 staff including specialist pathologists, registrars, scientists, technicians, laboratory assistants, and operational and support staff, across Queensland
  • supports more than 450 point-of-care testing devices, extending access to pathology results in remote locations and after hours with testing at the patient’s bedside
  • is involved with 70 per cent of all medical decisions and in all cancer diagnoses
  • works alongside clinicians to better understand diseases, enable earlier diagnosis, inform treatment options and monitor disease progression
  • is critical to the delivery of positive patient outcomes and plays a key role in delivering on Queensland Health’s commitment to achieve good health and well-being for all Queenslanders
  • provides specialised testing services for samples referred from public and private pathology providers within Queensland and from interstate.
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