An Update from the Avacta Animal Health Labs

The latest news, events and research & development from the labs at Avacta Animal Health.

Out on a LIMS

After 3 years in development, the lab is in the final stages of testing out our new laboratory information management system (LIMS). The beauty of a LIMS system is that is should act like a ‘one stop shop’ for everything to do with a sample once we receive it on site at Avacta Animal Health. The LIMS will contain all the information about the sample (patient age, breed, medications etc.), the tests required, the test results, and help to generate the report. This should help to reduce/eliminate any human errors in inputting sample information and data processing, and reduce the time taken to process samples. The LIMS at Avacta Animal Health will be used by the lab team and the customer services team mostly for sample management. In addition, the LIMS will also provide a mine of information for data science to look at trends and changes in the allergy responses. Unlike our sister lab at Avacta Life Sciences, Avacta Animal Health’s LIMS won’t be used for stock control as that, along with the sample information and assay data, is a bit too much of an ask from the system. This highlights that a LIMS is adaptable to what the lab needs it to do.

Time to SPARCL

Avacta Animal Health recently hosted a visit by Chris and Laura Chadwick from Life Diagnostics based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Chris and Laura were joined by Catherine and Dean from BMG, who loaned us a top of the range luminometer for the visit. Chris has developed a range of highly sensitive assays that use Lumigen’s SPARCL technology to detect biomarkers in biological samples.

The SPARCL assays are very sensitive and very specific for the biomarker of interest, meaning they are ideal for looking for tiny concentration differences in very small sample volume. Avacta Animal Health hopes to be adding the SPARCL assays to our research and development assay portfolio real soon.

Watch this space for SPARCL developments or contact the lab team to discuss your SPARCL assay requirements.

O-PAW-n for business

The 5th June saw the official start of Pet Allergy Week at Avacta Animal Health. This is always a very exciting time for the lab team. The fortnight leading up to PAW saw an increase in sample numbers received and analysed. Everyone at Avacta Animal Health was involved in putting together the PAW packs sent to the veterinary surgeries and we would like to thank everyone who engaged with PAW for their support and enthusiasm.

Keep a look out on the website for more PAW news and photos including the waiting room display competition winner which will be announced the week commencing 3rd July.

Other Lab News

The lab recently underwent a business continuity exercise. This has allowed Avacta Animal Health to assess the impact of an accident, major incident or natural disaster on the business and what we can put in place to prevent impact on the business. We now have several action plans, but hope we will never have to use them!

To ensure that the lab operates as smoothly as it can, we have also installed a constant temperature monitoring system for all our fridges and freezers. Our samples and reagents are very precious and often cannot be replaced easily. However, this means that anyone on out of hours call out can get a phone call in the middle of the night telling them the alarm has gone off!

Finally, Jen Bexley continues to be at the forefront of allergy research at Avacta Animal Health. As Principal Scientist for allergy activities, Jen is involved in updates to Avacta’s own allergy tests as well as working with a number of internationally renowned leaders in allergy. Jen has recently been involved with a study looking at reducing food allergy responses by using hydrolysed proteins instead of whole meat.

We hope the journal paper will be published soon.

Nicola Kingswell is the Head of Laboratory Operations at Avacta Animal Health

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