How Vacuum Pumps Are Used For COVID-19 Testing

How Vacuum Pumps Are Used For COVID-19 Testing

March 24, 2021


by Katy Manning

Covid-19 is a virus that has spread worldwide. It has demanded the attention of scientists and virologists that are determined to discover a vaccine. This will require not only their expertise but the use of specialized instruments, designed to help expedite this process. Although vacuum pumps have been on the news regarding their ability to help people survive, they also play an important role within the laboratory. Vacuum pumps have been used for decades, specifically for the purpose of isolating viruses so that remedies can be discovered. They are also essential in the preparation of the equipment that is used to do testing on people potentially infected with the virus. Here is an overview of why a vacuum pump is vital to the success of all Covid-19 testing.

What Is A Vacuum Pump?

A vacuum pump is a scientific device designed to remove gas molecules from a predetermined area. The pump will create differentiated pressure regions, specifically high-pressure and low-pressure areas. The vacuum pump is capable of producing these different regions of pressure, divided between areas with larger and smaller numbers of molecules. It is this difference that creates the possibility of removing gas molecules from one of the specified areas.

Different Types of Vacuum Pumps

Although there are many different manufacturers for vacuum pumps, there are two types of vacuum pumps that are typically produced. There is a transfer pump that pushes the gas from the inlet to the outlet. The other is called a trapping pump that will actually be in the area where the molecules will be vacated. A transfer pump is a mechanical apparatus that rotates rapidly, and through this spinning, creates a low-pressure area. The trapping pump uses either condensation or sorption inside of an area by extracting the molecules of gas using the process of refrigeration.

The Importance Of Vacuum Pumps During The Pandemic

Vacuum pumps have played a very important role in helping people survive during the pandemic. Within hospitals, they are able to create negative pressure areas so as to prevent the spread of the virus due to respiration. They have also been advantageous in helping people survive that have fluid filling up in their lungs. However, it is in the laboratory that vacuum pumps play a vital role in determining what the virus is and how virologists will be able to create a vaccine.

How Vacuum Pumps Are Used To Create Testing Kits

The testing kits that exist today are in part due to the creation of the plastic parts used during testing. During the manufacturing process, modern vacuum technology is used to ensure that the plastic will not leak. By extracting contaminants and air during this process, the potential for leakage will be minimized. Millions of tests have been administered since the advent of the pandemic, and those that use the tests are kept safe because of the way the components are created. For example, the test kit will include test tubes and caps, all of which must not leak. To ensure that this does not happen, vacuum systems are used for the purpose of degassing the material used to create these different components. By removing these contaminants, including air which could lead to flaws in the formation of these components, everyone involved can remain safe. However, in the laboratory, vacuum pumps also play an important role in identifying the virus so that it can be tested.

How Are Vacuum Pumps Used In Covid-19 Testing?

Vacuum pumps play an important role in the detection of the Covid-19 virus. Scientists have created portable miniature laboratories that can easily detect this biological material. By extracting the air from within the concealed region, what remains is the organic matter which is the virus. Some of these are capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the span of just 30 minutes. The organic material is collected using nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs. Inside of the pump, real-time isothermal amplification occurs, leading to the detection of the virus. These diaphragm vacuum pumps are perfect for both oil-free and dry applications. They are able to quickly separate the virus from the surrounding air, which is how the detection of Covid-19 is made possible.

Vacuum pumps have played a large role in protecting people from contracting the virus. In many hospitals, the air was filtered through a vacuum pump with the intent of extracting the virus directly from the air. However, the work that is done within laboratories, and out in the field to identify and subsequently understand the virus, also relies upon the technology of the vacuum pump. As virologists proceed forward toward finding vaccines for each emerging strain, this technology will continue to be used. It is the key to isolating and eventually understanding each strain of Covid-19.

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