Dr Arsen Arakleylan and colleagues unpack the IMB's Instrumental Access equipment

COVID-19 Testing to Increase in Armenia Thanks to Instrumental Access Partnership

Seeding Labs Announcements, Blog, COVID-19, Impact, Instrumental Access 2017, Scientist Success Stories

Rapid local production of test kits in Armenia will utilize equipment from Seeding Labs

Pictured above: Dr. Arsen Arakelyan and colleagues unpack the IMB's shipment of Instrumental Access equipment in June 2018.

To save lives and time, the government of Armenia is quickly gearing up to increase its daily COVID-19 testing by more than double—up to 1,000 people per day.

This expanded testing will give a clearer picture of the impact of COVID-19 in Armenia and is an important aspect of the country’s pandemic response.

However, test kits are in high demand and prices are being driven up while the supply dwindles.

Armenia has decided the best way to meet this challenge is through rapid local production of COVID-19 test kits.

To that end, the government has awarded funding to the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) of the National Academy of Sciences—an Instrumental Access-supported institution in Yerevan, Armenia—to manufacture test kits for the country.

Dr Arsen Arakelyan

Dr. Arsen Arakelyan

“Each country is trying to find solutions to meet the local demand,” says Arsen Arakelyan, PhD, director of the IMB. “We are going to apply our skills and expertise to ensure a smooth process of production of these new tests.”

Seeding Labs’ Instrumental Access program identifies world-class institutions and researchers in developing countries that are using their scientific talents to solve challenges facing their communities and the world.

By providing an influx of scientific equipment, Instrumental Access removes a key barrier to scientific teaching and research: lack of scientific equipment.

The IMB received an Instrumental Access shipment of equipment from Seeding Labs in June 2018.

This scientific infrastructure—including a real-time PCR machine, water purification system, mini-centrifuges, micropipettors, and more—is being used in each step of the Institute’s test kit manufacturing and quality control processes.

“Our community’s investment in the IMB opened up their capacity to meet an urgent public health need in Armenia,” says Melissa P. Wu, PhD, CEO of Seeding Labs.

To help speed up the IMB’s production and distribution of COVID-19 test kits, we need you, our current and future global science allies.

Seeding Labs is seeking additional equipment to ship to Dr. Arakelyan and his team in Armenia by May 29, 2020. Dr. Arakelyan is requesting:

    • Oligo Synthesizer
    • Liquid handling robot that can aliquot into 2 mL tubes
    • Self-contained isolated hood/glove box with HEPA filter for sterile packaging of kit reagents
    • Repeating pipettors

If you are able to help source any of these items, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact Jennifer Raymond, Corporate Relations Manager, via email.

You can also support our efforts to coordinate Dr. Arakelyan’s shipment with a tax-deductible donation to Seeding Labs at https://donate.seedinglabs.org.

Melissa P Wu

Melissa P. Wu

“As this pandemic spreads, it’s more important than ever for us to work together. Dr. Arakelyan, and innovators like him in every corner of the globe, deserve the best resources that the world has to offer to combat this global threat,” Wu says. “I’m grateful that we can play a small part in supporting these scientific heroes that are tirelessly working every day to safeguard the lives of millions of people.”