Agilent's legacy is largely built on the high-quality instruments we produce, which are found in labs around the world. However, the urgent need for COVID-19 testing has led to a surge in demand for one of our lesser-known products: magnetic beads.
Magnetic beads are particles that respond to magnetic fields yet retain no magnetic properties, making them suitable for automated lab applications, including molecular diagnostic assays, DNA/RNA capture, cell separation, and other applications.
Agilent is working with several large manufacturers to supply them with magnetic beads to support their rapid development and scale-up of COVID-19 testing assays. “There is a real urgency to bring high-volume testing to market, and it's a focus of many companies right now,” said Rob Stubbs, global strategic business manager for performance chemistries.
“So, it's crucial that we can respond quickly to dramatic changes in the demand for critical raw materials.”
Agilent manufactures these beads at our site in Church Stretton, U.K. “Demand for some beads has surged more than tenfold, and is likely to grow beyond that,” said Steve Luke, manufacturing manager.
“Our direct manufacturing teams are doing tremendous work,” Steve said. “Knowing that the work we do contributes directly to the global fight against coronavirus is very motivating and is really helping to maintain morale during these challenging times.”
Meeting this surge of demand has taken a considerable team effort. Supervisors and manufacturing technicians worked quickly to create plans and bring new production equipment online. At the same time, staffers in manufacturing engineering who had been working from home were brought back on site to work in production
From instruments to magnetic beads and more, Agilent and our people – like those at the Church Stretton site – are privileged to provide the tools, expertise, and time to support our customers on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.