Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, countries around the world have been working together to fight the epidemic in the face of the world’s biggest public health crisis in a century. The “fight against the epidemic” is like putting out a fire, providing a full range of services in response to the novel coronavirus epidemic, from nucleic acid screening and confirmation, differential diagnosis to future scalable immunological evaluation. To quickly solve the problem of lack of biosafety laboratories in various countries and regions, and to help the global fight against the epidemic, BGI, Etopia and Tongji University co-designed and launched the “Huo-Yan Air Lab” – supplying the complete solution of mobile inflatable BSL-2 l laboratory for urgent use. And the global unveiling ceremony was held on April 3, 2020, at the National GeneBank in Shenzhen, gaining widespread attention. The Huo-Yan Air Lab not only improves the testing efficiency, but also has the significant features of fast implementation, wide dissemination, and efficient landing, and optimally integrates the recent experience of BGI’s novel coronavirus testing into the laboratory.
Compared with traditional laboratories, this project is characterized by the fast set-up, low transportation requirements, high testing throughput, intelligent and high tech. After packing, it can be airfreighted by cargo plane for flexible site selection, fast layout, fast construction, fast start-up, and can be flexible according to demand adjusting configurations to help countries rapidly establish and upgrade nucleic acid testing capabilities for SARS-Cov-2.
The Huo-Yan Air Lab takes into account global biosafety requirements and industry norms and uses PVC materials with high flammability, abrasion resistance, and stability as the main building material.
It is equipped with four functional areas, including sample receiving area, reagent preparation area, sample preparation area, and amplification area, and auxiliary conversion spaces such as optical interactive access control system, medical waste outlet, buffer room, and dressing room, etc. It is equipped with a biological safety cabinet, automatic nucleic acid preparation workstation, and qPCR instrument, automated ELISA analyzer and genetic sequencers and other advanced laboratory equipment can be installed upon request.
Qualifications, Patents, Standards
On May 1, 2020, the Harbin Huo-Yan Air Lab (air-film version) has undergone initial PCR laboratory acceptance and a Level 2 biosafety laboratory filing.
On June 5, 2020, the Huo-Yan Air Lab at the National GeneBank in Shenzhen was awarded the Quality of Clinical Testing in Guangdong Province. The “Certificate of Technical Audit of Clinical Gene Amplification Laboratory” issued by the Control Center, which recognizes the layout, air pressure, air membrane laboratory. Temperature, humidity and environmental evaluation test results meet clinical PCR laboratory and testing requirements. The reviewers support the innovative spirit, rigorous quality control attitude, efficient experimental procedures, and the innovative and innovative approach of the Huo-Yan Air Lab. The laboratory’s proven management experience has been replicated nationally and globally.
At the same time, it has applied for invention, utility model and international PCT patents on “Inflatable Membrane Structure Virus Detection Laboratory, Biosafety Laboratory, and Cladding Structure Virus Detection Laboratory”; issued the enterprise standard “Inflatable Membrane Structure Virus Detection Laboratory Construction Guide”, and the group standard and national standard are actively under the application.
Since the world premiere of the Huo-Yan Air Lab on April 3, 2020, we have been continuously optimizing each function and laboratory environment according to the requirements of PCR laboratories in China, and have rapidly iterated to the third version according to actual user needs.
1) Huo-Yan Air Lab – Harbin, China
On May 1, the Harbin Huo-Yan Air Lab was officially completed in seven days, with a daily detection throughput of up to 10,000 samples, supplementing the scale of emergency detection capacity, “outpost” and coverage role, to a timely and accurate investigation of new coronavirus cases.
2) Huo-Yan Air Lab 1st overseas stop – Libreville, Gabon
On May 19, the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, visited the first overseas construction site of Huo-Yan Air Lab This laboratory can test 10,000 samples per day and is equipped with an MGISP-960 automatic sample preparation system. The RNA extraction of 192 samples can be completed in 80 minutes per unit, greatly improving local disease control and nucleic acid detection capacity.
In connection with the visit, the President’s Office stated that the health and safety of the Gabonese people is a top priority for the government; now that the epidemic is at a critical stage of prevention and control, it is expected that the laboratory can help improve screening for new coronaviruses so that infected populations can be diagnosed and treated promptly.
3) Huo-Yan Air Lab 2nd Overseas Stop – Medina, Saudi Arabia
On June 1, the Governor of Medina visited the Huo-Yan Air Lab.
4) Huo-Yan Air Lab 3th Overseas Stop – Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan
On June 5, the mayor and deputy mayor of Nur Sultan visited the Huo-Yan Air Lab, which will greatly enhance the local testing throughput.
5) Huo-Yan Air Lab 4th overseas stop – Lomé, Togo
On June 7, the construction of Huo-Yan Air Lab in Lome was completed. The daily detection capacity reaches to 5,000 samples.
6) Huo-Yan Air Lab in Beijing, China
On June 23, Beijing’s first Huo-Yan Air Lab was put into operation. The daily detection capacity reaches 100,000 samples.
As of June 28, construction needs and interests have been received from more than ten countries and regions, including Hong Kong, China; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Cotonou, and Benin, among others.