Operating instructions, with handwritten notes, for an Agilent Bravo used at a COVID-19 testing centre

Collection of artwork, signage and consumable products used at the Cambridge COVID-19 Test Centre
2020 in Cambridge

Operating instructions, with handwritten notes, for the Agilent Bravo, an automated liquid handling platform used in the analysis of test samples at Cambridge COVID-19 Test Centre, based at the Anne McLaren Building on the University of Cambridge Biomedical Campus, April 2020 - April 2021

14 robots speeded up the testing rate by six times at the Cambridge COVID-19 Test Centre. The Agilent Bravo automated sample preparation for testing. According to the instructions, it should be operated by two people, never alone so there was always a witness to double check which samples were being tested. As well as acquiring a robot, new software instructions, specific to COVID-19, were also needed. Passing on learning was important, so this instruction set has a handwritten note to ensure people did not miss a vital step.

Delivered in just five weeks rather than the normal six month fit out for a testing laboratory the Cambridge COVID-19 Test Centre tested 3 million samples during its year of operation. The Test Centre was originally a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, AstraZeneca and GSK, staffed by volunteers from the three sites, many of leaving their studies or roles for a few months, or taking on additional jobs. Volunteers worked in shift patterns in the same role to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In June 2020, the testing centre transition to a directly employed workforce, rather than relying on volunteers. The laboratory was run by Charles River Laboratories with 200 staff.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
overall: 210 mm x 297 mm