Sinai Health will soon be able to ramp up its COVID-19 testing capacity by an additional 2,000 samples a day, thanks to a donation of lab equipment from The Mammoth Foundation.

Sinai Health, a significant centre for COVID-19 testing in Canada, will receive molecular testing equipment produced by genomics leader BGI Group, in addition to installation, training and logistics support.

“This equipment will further enable Sinai Health to support testing in the province of Ontario,” said Louis de Melo, CEO of Sinai Health Foundation. “We are grateful for the ongoing partnership and generosity of The Mammoth Foundation and BGI Group.”

 MGISP-960 automated sample preparation and liquid handling system (Photo: MGI)

The microbiology lab shared between Sinai Health and University Health Network (UHN) was the first hospital lab in the province to go live with testing for COVID-19. In a matter of weeks, it mobilized to process up to 2,500 tests a day and deliver results in just 24 to 36 hours.

With this donation, Sinai Health hopes to increase its COVID-19 testing by an additional 1,000 to 2,000 samples per day to support the urgent need for additional testing capacity in Ontario.

At the heart of this donation is the MGISP-960 automated viral RNA extraction and sample preparation robot which will reduce manual processing time, increasing testing efficiency and safety. Nucleic acid testing is essential for diagnosis and containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mammoth Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization based in Shenzhen, China, aimed at promoting genome technology for public benefit.

The donation honors Dr. Henry Norman Bethune (1890 – 1939), a native of Ontario and a graduate of the University of Toronto, who helped bring modern medicine to rural China and is credited with saving millions of Chinese lives.