ABB robots help tackle COVID by automating neutralizing antibody test for research and diagnostics

Feb. 7, 2023
Robotic neutralizing antibody system expands possibilities for rapid detection of immune resistance to COVID.

ABB Robotics has developed an automated neutralizing antibody testing system with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Developed by ABB Robotics, Life Sciences and Healthcare Lab, located at the Texas Medical Center Campus in Houston, Texas, the system increases the number of neutralizing antibody tests performed, from 15 to over 1,000 daily.

The aim of the automated neutralizing antibody test is to specifically detect a SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody without cross-reaction with other infection, making this assay a gold standard for COVID-19 serological testing. The resulting data will then be used both by the person being tested and by researchers to better understand immunity from vaccination or infection. The data will also inform local policymakers’ decisions on how to minimize the risk of further infection, such as avoiding virus hotspots.

The automated neutralizing antibody test was developed using the RobotStudio offline programming software to model, iterate and test different combinations of lab equipment and robot positions to develop the most effective working concept. As a result of this process, a working system was produced from inception into operation within just 18 months, greatly cutting the amount of time typically required for a project of this type.

ABB release