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Kingfisher Flex: Its Demand & How Does This Machine Help Optimize COVID Testing?

What is the Kingfisher Flex system?

This is a pure viral RNA kit and is made to purify and separate viral nucleic acids from a variety of different samples. The samples could range from saliva, blood, urine, and serum to different swabs, such as from the nose, throat, or urogenital areas. All of this is made possible through the use of Thermo Scientific ‘KingFisher’ instruments. This kit makes it possible to make fast and automated purifications and the resulting separated nucleic acids are of very good quality and have barely any contaminants or inhibitors, while also being free of any proteins and nucleases. Hence, these kits can be used in a variety of tests, like quantitative PCR, reverse transcriptase qPCR and many others.

Uses of this kit

As mentioned above, this kit is used to separate nucleic acids from a variety of different samples, such as:

  • Plasma
  • Serum
  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Nasal swab
  • Urogenital swab
  • Throat swab

The Kingfisher Flex system uses a magnetic particle processor system and has many reagents and plastic consumables made with it, to help it work in an efficient manner and to better its function. However, it should be noted that these pure viral NA kits are not for diagnostic or clinical purposes, but mainly have research value and should be used for that. These kits are not specifically advised for any organism or application, hence the person who uses it needs to use it to determine its use and its validation.

How does this system work?

This system makes use of magnetic particle technology to purify and separate viral DNA or RNA. This system easily uses magnetic particles to rapidly and efficiently purify nucleic acids. The good thing about this whole process is that the hands-on time is significantly reduced and you do not have to do much about the whole thing; the machine will do most of the work while you can give your time to do other important work. Also, the whole process does not use any phenol or chloroform either. The whole process is explained below:

  1. The sample is first lysed which means it is broken down
  2. Then, the nucleic acids are revealed and are able to bind to the Kingfisher magnetic beads located in the system. This process uses isopropanol. These beads are very magnetic and reactive.
  3. Now the proteins in the sample are washed off, any remaining cell debris removed, as well as any other things that could contribute to contamination of the sample. This happens through 2 different wash buffers.
  4. The sample is then air-dried.
  5. Now that the nucleic acids are all clean and purified, they are now rinsed into the nuclease-free water.
  6. Now, nucleic acids are of high quality and can be used in different processes.

Conditions for storage

When you purchase or receive the KingFisher system, it is important to note how to keep it working in an efficient manner. The magnetic beads need to be stored at a temperature of +4 degrees centigrade and the carrier RNA should be stored in the original aluminum bag at a temperature of –20 degrees centigrade. However, the Proteinase K solution remains stable and okay at room temperature, unless the solution is opened and the seal is broken and the solution is exposed to the environment.

There are also other components of the kit that come with the system. And these should be stored at around 15-25 degrees centigrade. The stability of the reagents depends on when they were manufactured. Essentially, the reagents remain in good condition for up to 3 years from when they were manufactured.

How to prepare the carrier RNA?

This sounds complex but is not that difficult, especially when you get the hang of it. The carrier RNA comes in a vial and to prepare it for the process, 600 ul of nuclease-free water should be added to it. Then, leave it at room temperature for around 5 to 6 minutes, after which mixing is required. Mixing the sample properly is required, and then the mixture also undergoes the centrifuging process for a brief time. This sample can now be used, and if immediate use is not required, it is imperative you store the sample in aliquots at around –20 degrees centigrade.

It is important to note that some things should be avoided, such as repetitive freezing or thawing of the sample, as this can cause problems with the content and the results will not be as satisfying or accurate.

Use of the Kingfisher Flex system in COVID testing

These systems are quite useful for COVID testing as they help isolate RNA from the COVID virus. The whole process is also rapid and less time-consuming which is an added advantage. The consumables that come with the system are made keeping in mind the COVID virus and plastics used in tip combs and microplates, are very efficient for the process of magnetic particle processing as they have a lower affinity when it comes to binding with biomolecules.

The different design of the system is ideal for the good and efficient recovery process of magnetic beads.

The KingFisher Flex system is rapid and uses a high-tech system to isolate viral RNA or DNA. The installation is also easy and gives good purification results, free from any contaminants. It has excellent reproducibility and the nucleic acids produced are high in quality and give good results. The eluting volumes are ideal, the protocol is flexible and any kind of sample can be tested, whether it be a swab, urine sample, blood sample, or serum testing, which is why many companies are now wanting to purchase this system and test it in their labs for good and accurate results.

How To Do Maintenance of Kingfisher Flex?

The main concern of healthcare professionals and medical researchers is to keep their instruments free from contaminants. The whole research can go in vain if the instrument has a contaminant. Hence, maintaining medical instruments and devices is crucial. This blog will provide some essential tips to maintain the Thermo Scientific Kingfisher Flex and Kingfisher Flex Consumables

Kingfisher Flex is a versatile extraction instrument used by medical researchers in the lab. The instrument allows 24 to 96 samples per run. The instrument can withstand medium to high throughput purification and extraction of RNA, DNA, cells, and proteins.  The instrument is used in many types of research, including “Identification and tracking of problematic host cell proteins removed by a synthetic, highly functionalized nonwoven media in downstream bioprocessing of monoclonal antibodies” (1). In this research, the instrument was used to recover DNA from a protein class.

Preventive Maintenance And Regular Cleaning

To get reliable results, the instrument should be cleaned daily. It should remain free of dust and liquid spills. Make sure not to use cleaning agents. The cleaning agents will damage the paint. We recommend that you use a soft cloth, warm it and use a mild detergent to clean the instrument’s case. Although the material of the instrument is of high quality, acids, solvents, and alkaline solutions can damage the interior. Therefore it is recommended to wash away chemicals quickly.

Clean The Turntable

In order to avoid dust and dirt, keep the surface of the turntable clean. It is recommended that you clean the turntable every once a week. You can use soft tissue paper with a mild detergent solution. Also, it is good if the turntable is detached. In this way, you will be able to clean it better.

If you notice the infection agent on the turntable, use a soft cloth and water to use it. You can also use a mild detergent if the spot is hard to remove.

The Magnetic Rods

If you find some spots on the magnetic rod, then clean it. Soft cloth and water or a mild detergent are suitable for this process. You can also use alcohol if the detergent is not available.

One must know that the instrument contains a strong pair of permanent magnets. Therefore, don’t come near it if you are wearing metallic prostheses.

Clean The Shield Plate

The shield plate of Kingfisher Flex is autoclavable at 121C and 1 bar pressure for 20 minutes. Although cleaning this part is not necessary if you find some infection, dirt, or spot on the plate, then use a soft cloth with mild detergent to clean it. If the spot is hard to remove, use alcohol.

Disposal of Materials

For disposal of radioactive and biohazards, you must follow your laboratory’s and country’s regulations and procedures.

After performing biomedical research, make sure to dispose of your gloves, disposable tips, syringes, plates as well as biohazards.

The Decontamination Procedure

You should perform the decontamination process as per your laboratory’s procedure. Follow every decontamination procedure that involves the usage of reagents. Remember, we recommend performing decontamination on the instrument if and only if the instrument has come in direct contact with some infectious substance. If there is a risk that an infectious substance is present on the instrument, perform the procedure given below:

  1. Use 200ml 4% glutaraldehyde solution as a decontaminant.
  2. Empty the turntable.
  3. Turn OFF the instrument and remove the power supply cable.
  4. Use 70% ethanol on a dampened cloth and use it to disinfect the exterior of the instrument.
  5. Put the instrument in a plastic bag and remove the see-through lid.
  6. Place the cloth mixed with the decontaminant solution in the bag and do not let the cloth come in contact with the instrument.
  7. Close the bag and leave it as it is for 24 hours.
  8. Remove the instrument, clean it with mild detergent, and remove the spot using 70% ethanol.


Medical instruments need to stay clean in order to perform safe and efficient research and diagnosis. If you are looking to purchase the latest medical instruments and research instruments, visit MBP Inc. The platform provides everything related to medical science, biology, and healthcare research.

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