May 18, 2022

Throat swab nucleic acid sample collection robot put into mass production

Special: Battle against the new coronavirus

A robot collecting nucleic acid samples by throat swab is at work. (Photo/

China’s first throat swab nucleic acid sample collection robot has been successfully developed and put into mass production, the overseas edition of the People’s Daily reported Friday.

This type of robot is mainly applied to 10 in 1, 20 in 1 mixed sample collection tasks for nucleic acid detection. It can automatically perform tasks such as reading the registration code and collecting, packing and storing throat swab samples.

The autonomous sample-collecting robot can obtain four samples at a time to ensure epithelial cell collection, said Zhao Huichan, an associate professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tsinghua University.

Consisting of a seven-jointed robotic arm and a “little steel hand” that can grasp cotton swabs, the sample collection robot is a combination of 22 invention patents and 6 authorized patents, and it can work smoothly in 0-45℃ environment, according to Zhao.

After sample preservation, the robot also has disinfection and sterilization capabilities to prevent cross-infection, a staff member informed via a video clip on the official website of the Tsingke Research Institute, which developed this robot. with Tsinghua University.

The sample collection process takes about 35 seconds per person each time, and the effective sampling rate can reach 100%. The application of this type of robot can greatly reduce the labor intensity and infection risk of nucleic acid collection personnel.

Currently, the research for the fourth generation of this robot is in full swing with a focus on an integrated detection function so that sample collection and detection can be performed by the same machine within 30 seconds, said Lv Chunzhe, director of the Tsingke Research Institute, as noted. on the official site of the establishment.