In response to the complex health crisis in Chile and the rest of the world, Viña Concha y Toro’s Center for Research and Innovation (CRI) certified its molecular biology laboratory was certified by Universidad Católica del Maule’s (UCM) Biomedical Research Laboratory. Thanks to this certification, the laboratory will operate under the supervision of the Maule Region Health Service to carry out diagnostic tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 as part of a network of laboratories connected by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation.
The capabilities of the CRI’s molecular biology laboratory include process robotization and automation, with use of the Hamilton Microlab STARLet robotic pipettor, among other devices, which enables 2,300 samples per day to be processed, and a qPCR Thermofisher QuantStudio 5 with a diagnostic capacity of 768 samples per day.
“We want to collaborate with our capabilities to overcome this health crisis, supporting prevention and early diagnosis. As part of our contribution to the Private Emergency Health Fund, together with the donation of hand sanitizer to health authorities, we have also made our cutting-edge technological equipment and team of professionals at the Center for Research and Innovation available to them”, said, Eduardo Guilisasti, CEO of Viña Concha y Toro.
This milestone complements the first stage of implementing complementary capacity to strengthen the diagnostic system, and also included the provision of RNA extraction equipment to UCM and Talca Hospital. This strategy includes an Esco SC2-4E1 Streamline® Class II Biological Safety Cabinet and MagMAX™ Express-96 purification system, which will enable daily extraction capacity to be quadrupled. Additionally, purification kits to carry out 1,500 RNA extractions will be donated, and the company will provide advisors in work teams coordinated by the Head of the Ministry of Science’s Central-South Regional Office, Paulina Assmann.
“In times of crisis, this type of collaboration reaffirms the value of public-private-academic partnerships in their deepest sense, which ultimately aims to achieve common good and prosperity for our country. I would like to thank the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science, UCM and our employees for making this possible”, said Gerard Casaubon, Director of Viña Concha y Toro’s Center for Research and Innovation.
“The organized scientific community is currently performing a special task to fight this pandemic. Thanks to the coordination of five regional Ministry of Science offices—together with teams from the Ministry of Health, the Public Health Institute, and the generosity of the scientific community, academic communities and the private sector—today our country stands out for its coordinated and decentralized COVID-19 diagnostic capacity”, said Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, Andrés Couve.
“This collaborative work between the private sector and academia is an example to follow, enabling us to contribute to the analysis of a large number of samples and ensure early detection of this virus”, said Diego Durán, Dean of Universidad Católica del Maule.
Viña Concha y Toro disclosed two major initiatives included in its contribution to the Private Emergency Health Fund led by Chile’s Confederation of Production and Commerce (CPC). “Viña Concha y Toro’s contribution demonstrates companies’ desire to provide support in meeting the most pressing needs of this health emergency through their resources, management capability, networks and innovation, cooperating with other organizations”, said CPC President, Juan Sutil.
“The certification of Viña Concha y Toro’s laboratory to diagnose coronavirus will make a significant contribution to fighting the pandemic. This association between the public sector, private sector and academia once again demonstrates that unity is our greatest strength, as well as the most effective way to face adversity and develop a better future”, said Maule Region Intendant, Pablo Milad.
In addition to the above, Viña Concha y Toro will donate a total of 50,000 liters of hand sanitizer to health authorities in different formats, enabling them to be provided to people and organizations who so require, including the COVID-19 diagnostic laboratories network, Ministry of Health networks and communities. Of these, 40,000 liters of hand sanitizer prepared by Winkler using the company’s alcohol will be provided, and 10,000 liters will be produced by Viña Concha y Toro’s Lontué Plant and delivered to the Maule Region Government for local distribution.