Pipette filter tips – high demand, low supply and uncertain future for the PCR tests 6th November 2020 – Posted in: Virus – Tags: , , , , , ,

Due to the increased use of PCR there is a worldwide shortage of 1000ul and 1250ul PCR filter tips that are used for safe handling of DNA and RNA samples. Big distributors like Gentaur had already built up a filter tip stock to continue supplying filter tips to diagnostic and forensic laboratories but this stock is already lacking the large filter tips. Small filter tips are still available. Apparently this will not be sufficient since the world’s demand for tips has increased too fast due to the increased corona detection with PCR.

PCR, or Polymerase Chain Reaction, is a technique to amplify DNA using a thermocycler workstation and Taq polymerase. (Enzyme from the bacteria Thermus aquaticus). PCR is used in forensic, diagnostic and research laboratories. Detection of cancer variations, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and tuberculosis antibiotic resistance with spolygotyping depend on PCR.

Gentaur originally supplied filter tips from Neptune Scientific, in San Diego Ca, manufactured in Mexico. Our import is now restricted to 10 boxes a month but we need 500 boxes. There are only little filter tip plants available in the world. Belgium, Poland and other countries have no production since our filter tips are made in Germany by Greiner, Corning, etc.

Pipette filter tips - high demand, low supply and uncertain future for the PCR tests set
Pipette filter tips - high demand, low supply and uncertain future for the PCR tests size
Neptune 20ul barrier tip
BT20
Biotix 10 trays of 96 / pack
Neptune 100ul barrier tip
BT100
Biotix 10 trays of 96 / pack
Neptune 10ul barrier tip
BT10
Biotix 10 trays of 96 / pack
Neptune Barrier tip 10ul Extended Length Filter Tip
BT10XL
Biotix 10 trays of 96 / pack

Gentaur tried to source filter tips in India but the Indian government has in September 2020 put a ban on the export of filter tips. Containers with filter tips that had already been sent to Europe were recalled to return to Mumbai, Accumaximum the Indian manufacturer.

It will be a difficult winter for our forensic, diagnostic and research customers” says Lieven Gevaert, the director of Gentaur Ltd in London.

Our laboratory customers could switch to working with smaller volumes since 10 ul filter tips are still available, but if these will be out of stock they will be technically unemployed.

Since the 90s PCR has become more and more important in our scientific laboratories. I cannot imagine this winter we will return to a situation of before the 90s where criminals cannot be traced anymore, cancer cannot be characterized and viruses not detected.
There are still the antigen and antibody detection techniques of Covid but they lack the detection speed from the day someone got infected by covid.

With PCR Covid can be detected as early as in 2 days, with antigen method- 3 to 4 days and using antibody detection – 5 to 7 days after a person was in contact with an Covid contamination.