At the end of 2022, the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service (FRCBS) moved to new, modern premises in Vehkala, Vantaa, along the Kehä III ring road. Roche delivered Blood Service an automated sample processing line and equipment used in carrying out the necessary infection screening of blood donor samples. The new laboratory automation and analysis solution is the first of its kind, also on a global scale.
The Blood Service tests each donated unit of blood for infectious diseases. These infections include HIV, hepatitis A, B and C, syphilis and parvovirus.
“The tests to ensure blood safety have very strict quality standards. We need reliable and efficient analysis equipment,” says Jaana Mättö, Director of the Blood Service Laboratory.
Every component in the automated sample testing equipment has at minimum one back-up, in order to increase sample processing reliability. The Blood Service must be able to deliver blood products to hospitals every day of the week, both in normal and exceptional circumstances.
The Blood Service is the only blood centre in Finland that screens nearly 200,000 blood donations every year. More than 2,000 samples from approximately 700−800 blood donors arrive at the Blood Service laboratory every day. The Blood Service processes nearly one million sample tubes each year.
The Blood Service also performs the blood-group sample testing in the maternity clinics throughout Finland, all the tissue compatibility testing for organ and stem cell transplantations, and the various tests required by hospitals for selecting suitable blood.
Increased automation without compromising safety
The new equipment delivered by Roche is the world’s first comprehensive Roche Blood Safety Solutions (RBSS) package, including nucleic acid testing (PCR) and serology analytics integrated with automated sample preparation and an IT solution.
“The new technological solution has further increased automation and production reliability. It has reduced the need for manual handling of sample tubes and racks, improved work ergonomics, and helped our team of skilled professionals to focus their efforts on the most essential tasks,” Mättö continues.
“The Blood Service was looking for an integrated and sustainable solution with built-in backup capacity that would allow the devices to operate reliably overnight. A higher degree of automation was important for the Blood Service, as was sorting on the racks of separate analysers, among others. “In addition to the equipment, Roche will also be providing the Blood Service with comprehensive support for use and maintenance for ensuring the continuity and reliability of production,” says Jaana Mantere, Head of Sales and Marketing at Roche Diagnostics Oy.
The schedule-critical project was completed on time
The co-operation between Roche and the Blood Service flowed excellently throughout the schedule-critical project. Co-operation and the implementation of goals was facilitated by a committed and motivated project team, good proactive planning, a high prioritization status of the project in both organizations as well as close monitoring of progress,” Mantere continues.
System installation started in July 2022 and commissioning took place at the end of October 2022.