It’s no secret Quartzy works with the best suppliers in the industry. As part of the Quartzy marketing team, keeping up with their current happenings is part of my job. Without having any formal lab experience myself, I’m always impressed with the innovation and vision of our suppliers. At a time when business news is often bleak, our suppliers have continued to raise the bar by working harder, pivoting in new directions, and aiming to help more people than ever before.
Based in Irvine, CA, Zymo Research recently celebrated their 25th anniversary making quality research products. Zymo Research’s website indicates a clear vision “to have a positive impact in the biomedical field and contribute to the greater good of humanity.” When the threat of COVID-19 became apparent, Zymo Research wasted no time living up to their promise. As one of the first responders to the epidemic, “we were able to deliver needed scientific reagents to a hospital in Wuhan for much needed COVID-19 testing,” states Shea Biondi, Director of Marketing at Zymo Research. But they didn’t stop there. In conjunction with their clinical/diagnostic partner, Pangea Laboratory LLC, they created COVID-19 tests. “Pangea Laboratory has been testing local law enforcement and first responders in the Orange County and LA areas,” and hopes to make this operation scalable for organizations that can’t meet the current demand. The company is doing even more by ramping up production of nasal swabs and Viral RNA purification kits. In an effort to keep testing workflows fully operational, Biondi says, “We are doing whatever it takes to ensure our supply chain is not interrupted.” In a staggering feat, the entire company has shifted their priorities toward COVID-19 relief.
Other biotechnology suppliers have heeded the recent call to action as well. Founded in 2009, Nest Scientific is a global leader in manufacturing laboratory plastics. When the COVID-19 outbreak began, Nest, alongside their sister company TechStar, immediately saw the demand for testing surge. “We wanted to contribute to the global fight for the coronavirus, Dr. Jie Wu Pan, Ph.D, and VP of Operations, shares. The companies developed a brand new product line of transport mediums and swabs for COVID-19 testing including Universal Transport Medium (UTM), Viral Transport Medium (VTM), and Inactivation Transport Medium (ITM) that have unique advantages. “Our ITM medium can inactivate the virus and act as an extra protection for the testing personnel”. While most samples require storage at 2-4 degrees celsius, Pan explains that their proprietary ITM medium can be kept at room temperature for up to 20 days. Their new swabs are equally advantageous, utilizing nylon flocking and 2 breakpoints for increased efficiency. Nest knew right away they had the capability to make a difference and seized the opportunity. Additionally, “Nest has donated over 3,000 nucleic acid testing kits to developing countries, such as Cambodia,” Pan mentions, proud of her company’s response to the pandemic.
STEMCELL Technologies is Canada’s largest biotechnology company. Headquartered in Vancouver, STEMCELL has made significant contributions to COVID-19 research. For example, Senior Scientist Dr. Juan Hou and her team developed PneumaCult, a culture media used in the process to isolate and sequence the COVID-19 virus. Once the virus was sequenced, the researchers were able to share the data with other scientists around the world. “As a scientist, it is deeply fulfilling that my team was able to support China's novel coronavirus investigation and the research team at the China CDC (Centre for Disease Control) to help resolve this pandemic,” Dr. Hou comments on the STEMCELL website. PneumaCult continues to play an active role in the fight against the virus by “enabling researchers to study potential treatments and cures.” STEMCELL continues to support numerous COVID-19 research projects focusing on developing anti-viral therapies, vaccines, and screening protocols.
Companies like Nest, Zymo Research, and STEMCELL share a common goal of eradicating this life-altering pandemic. They ask themselves constantly what they can do to make a difference and how they can best utilize their resources to benefit people globally. STEMCELL's scientists are working closely with numerous labs around the world to provide custom products and technical support for complex protocols. Similarly, Zymo Research is in close communication with government officials around the globe with a mission to get testing supplies into the hands of those in need. “We are working hard together with many other people trying to combat this global health threat,” says Dr. Jie Wu Pan at Nest. As many of us watch the news for daily updates on this novel virus, it’s important to remember all that’s happening behind the scenes to drive innovation and the inevitable solution.
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To read about Quartzy labs responding to COVID-19, click here.
Emily has a BA in Communications and an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a Marketing Specialist at Quartzy and resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children.