Assured Bio Labs is excited to offer our environmental laboratory COVID-19 test. The environmental laboratory test for SARS-CoV-2 is a multi-step process consisting of: nucleic acid extraction, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Samples for COVID-19 are shipped overnight to the environmental laboratory, in a temperature safe container with a method for keeping the temperature low. It is important to the environmental laboratory that the sample arrives intact, with clear labeling, and with a minimum of temperature fluctuation during shipping. Once the environmental laboratory receives these packages, they are opened and organized within a biological safety cabinet. The Chain of Custody (CoC) is then placed in a 70°C oven for 15 minutes to sanitize the paperwork. Once complete, the samples are logged into our systems individually or as part of a pooled composite sample. After this last organizational step, sample processing begins.
Extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from viral particles is the first step in the testing process. This is done in batches and is time sensitive. The extraction process takes anywhere from 1-3 hours to complete. Afterwards, the newly extracted RNA is placed into a thermocycler to undergo RT-PCR wherein the temperature is cycled for different lengths of time. During this reaction, the RNA is converted into complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) by enzymatic action. It is transformed in a 1:1 ratio, with no amplification occurring at this point. After we have generated the cDNA, qPCR can be run during which the cDNA is duplicated once per temperature cycle. During the amplification process, a fluorescent tag is “excited” and can be detected. Measuring the intensity of the fluorescence given off at different cycles can be used to quantify the amount of DNA being amplified, giving us our quantification of genome equivalents (GE) when the assay has been calibrated using a known source.
Assured Bio Labs is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to complete your COVID-19 air and surface sampling, all while providing industry leading turn-around times. Along with our M-TRAP® cassettes and WhisperCare® units, we also stock all the shipping supplies you need to get your samples to our lab safely and intact, including shippable cooler packages and mylar bags. Our standard turnaround time is 48–72 hours, but for an extra fee we are able to provide results the same day. All of this information and more can be found on www.assuredbio.com/covid-19-environmental-testing-program. We hope we can provide you with all the help you need in this ever-evolving environment.