Belgian scientists are hoping to help provide 1,000 extra coronavirus tests a day with the help of a KingFisher robot, the Free University of Brussels (VUB) announced on Monday.
The robot, owned by the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) can process 96 tests at the same time and deliver results in less than three hours. It was transferred last week to UCB Pharma in Braine-l’Alleud (Wallonia), the location for one of three new centralised testing facilities for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, and is already operational.
The KingFisher robot, of which only a dozen are available in Belgium, is normally used by the Centre for Structural Biology run by the VIB and VUB.
The institute “is responding positively to Minister Philippe De Backer’s call for expertise and infrastructure at Belgian universities and research institutes to significantly expand the testing capacity” for coronavirus, the VUB said.
De Backer is the minister in charge of a dedicated coronavirus task force that was set up to combat the spread of the virus.