Aviagen lends a hand to help with Covid testing

KingFisher Flex extraction machine

Global poultry breeding company Aviagen® has loaned a molecular diagnostic testing machine to a medical facility in Mobile, Ala which is suitable also for Covid testing. The Aviagen Diagnostics Testing Facility in Elkmont, Ala., uses the KingFisher Flex extraction machine to strengthen the health of its internal flocks by routinely testing for Avian Influenza and Salmonella. Coincidentally, the same system can be used to test for Covid-19 positivity in humans. 

“By performing a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test on human samples, the presence of viral RNA can be detected” explains Aviagen Laboratory Manager Dr. Lola Crespo. According to Crespo, a PCR test rapidly makes millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA/RNA sample, and amplifies it to an amount large enough to study in detail.

Because of the significant need for Covid-19 testing, equipment needed to process samples has been in short supply. The big advantage of this equipment is that it can extract 96 samples per run, taking 30-45 minutes for processing. The Elkmont veterinary laboratory currently has two KingFisher extraction machines. In order to help out, the team is doubling up on internal testing for AI or Salmonella, making do with the one machine. 

“We’re happy to contribute to the Covid testing efforts. Aviagen is committed to helping people, especially during this time of dire need,” added Crespo. “Another way we demonstrate our commitment is by helping our customers – the world’s poultry producers – put #FoodOnEveryTable, by providing them with a reliable supply of healthy and safe breeding stock.”