Setting up a practical lab requires having the best lab equipment in San Francisco. Biotechnical Services can help you source the ideal instruments for reliable tests. This article highlights ways to set up a lab facility. Let’s get started.
What is a test lab?
A test lab is a controlled space where repeatable experiments and work can be done. It involves managing the entry of materials and people, making work in lab facilities testable, reliable, and repeatable.
Types of lab tests
Lab tests are classified into broad groups depending on the specimen and its purpose. Ideally, there are diagnostic and general body tests. Diagnostic tests help detect the presence or absence of conditions, while general tests are done for specific reasons.
The most common lab tests are:
Screening tests detect the presence of a disorder or disease in people without the disease’s symptoms. The chief goal is to control the spread of the disease, reducing the risk to society. It is not a diagnostic test. Instead, it helps detect potential diseases within a given population subset.
It is helpful to mitigate misinformation and confusing or unclear results. Generally, screening tests are accurate in most cases. We, however, recommend having this test as directed by your physician. While a rarity, they can cause harm, especially to people without the disorder or disease.
Common tests include:
- Cholesterol measurements
- Fecal occult blood test
- Pap test
- Prostate-specific antigen
Organ function tests
As the name suggests, they are tests done to assess how an organ is functioning. Common organs that physicians tests are the lungs, kidney, heart, and liver. This type of test is common in patients with severe illnesses such as cancer. As you’d expect, cancer treatment can cause severe side effects which have short or long-term effects on organs.
Organ function tests are done during and after treatment to ensure the treatment does not harm crucial body organs. If it affects organs, the treatment is changed or adjusted accordingly. Some of the standard tests are:
- Heart (cardiac) function test: It includes an echocardiogram (echo) and multigated acquisition (MUGA) test.
- Respiratory function tests include spirometry, lung plethysmography, and lung diffusion tests.
- Renal function tests: These include renal ultrasound and other tests.
Hormone level tests
It is a test to gauge the hormone levels in your body. It helps to diagnose hormonal imbalances in your body accurately. Having too little or too much can affect your well-being.
Lab technicians will use blood, saliva, or urine samples to conduct their tests. Besides, there are home hormone test kits for quick and accurate diagnosis.
Common tests are:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
Infectious disease test
It is a test carried out to diagnose the presence of an infectious disease. Results help doctors prescribe the best medication, reducing the disease’s spread. Some most common contagious diseases are the common cold, pneumonia, and flu. Doctors will use blood or body fluids to discover antibodies, identifying which condition you’re suffering from.
Common tests are:
- Strep throat
Tumor and cancer marker tests
These tests look for cancer markers in your body tissue, urine, or blood. The body produces the markers in response to cancer present in your body. There are cancer-specific and general markers. The body can produce tumor makers in several noncancerous infections.
As such, this test is not used to diagnose cancer in people at a lower risk of the illness. They are done on people who are already with cancer. They help doctors gauge the cancer spread, whether medication is working, and whether there are cancer traces after medication.
Common tests are:
- Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
- Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP)
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
- CA 125
Other tests done in lab facilities in San Francisco are sexually transmitted infection, vitamin and nutrient level, and cholesterol level tests.
Tips for setting up a testing lab facility
So, what should you consider when setting up a functional lab facility in San Francisco? Let’s find out.
First, you should ensure the space needed for your lab is sufficient. It enables the free movement of lab technicians and adequate air circulation. You should consider the number of technicians working in the lab and visitors who’ll frequent your facility. Also, keep in mind the testing processes that will be needed.
Most tests need at least three areas for sterilization, pre-disinfecting, and equipment packaging. As such, you should ensure free movement from one location to another without causing harm to personnel or contaminating the test samples.
It is arguably the chief aspect to consider when looking for lab equipment in San Francisco. As you’d expect, tests require specialized equipment for optimal results. You should also consider collaborating with other labs, which aids in acquiring shared instruments. Ensure to cover all test bases from simple to complex test procedures.
For example, for cell culture, you will need CO2 incubators, a tabletop cooling centrifuge, a laminar flow hood, and liquid nitrogen Dewar. Biochemistry tests require rotating shakers, heat blocks, DNA/RNA concentrations, and other equipment.
You’ll also need general equipment, including freezers, timers, racks, stir bars, and cylinders. Ensure to provide comfortable furniture as lab technicians work for long hours.
To ensure safe and accurate tests, you will need testing instruments. They include blood bank analyzers, clinical chemistry analyzers, hematology analyzers, and cryostats. You should also provide safety equipment to mitigate lab damage and bodily injuries. There should be ample storage space for supplies and an inventory management system for tracking.
Due to the presence of many potentially harmful chemicals and specimens in labs, there’s increased susceptibility to injuries and even death. Some common injuries are chemical irritation, lacerations, and burns.
As such, you should provide safety equipment to keep your facility in San Francisco safe. Some of the equipment to provide include:
- Safety goggles
- Eyewash stations
- Safety showers
- Lab coats
- Protective gloves
- Chemical fume hoods
- First aid kits
- Fire blankets
You can also improve the safety of your laboratory by following the safety tips we will share below.
As you’d expect, running a lab falls under local, state, and federal regulations. It is to ensure the safety of lab personnel and the surrounding environment. These regulations also ensure you follow guidelines when carrying out tests. Before starting your facility in San Francisco, consult relevant authorities to ensure you comply with the rules.
Different lab accreditations depend on the lab type, and tests carried out. There are national and international accreditations that can be necessary for your lab. They fall under calibration, safety, product certification, and others.
Most accreditation agencies are non-profit and require membership to get their certificates. Typical agencies Include the International Laboratory Accreditation Corporation (ILAC) and The American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).
Tips to improve lab safety
Do not allow drinks in the lab
Removing drinks and food from your lab facility can help reduce distractions and improve productivity. It also helps reduce injuries and accidents. As you’d expect, food waste can cause contamination. Removing food will minimize the risk of contamination.
Work with lab partners
While it is not always possible to perform test duties with a partner, when an opportunity arises, you should take advantage. Besides, two people working together can help mitigate mistakes synonymous with working alone. It also enables you to access equipment you might be missing in your lab facility. There are also reduced chances of injury since you monitor each other.
Use relevant signs
Unauthorized zones should be labeled with apparent signs. You should also mark anything that can cause harm to lab personnel, using bright colors and bold letters and placing the signs in appropriate locations. If possible, place them where they are visible from afar.
Ensure to follow OSHA guidelines when marking solutions and chemicals. Marking noisy rooms and electric equipment such as circuit breakers is a boon to the lab’s safety.
Use fireproof cabinets
Storing flammable solvents, chemicals, and aerosols in fireproof cabinets is prudent to mitigate fire occurrence. Leaving them exposed can cause a reaction leading to fire outbreaks. As an added safety feature, mark your fireproof cabinets.
Conduct regular inspections
Like other facilities, you should have a safety audit checklist that guides your inspection process. To mitigate unforeseen downtimes, ensure to conduct random inspections.
It can help you identify potential risks and come up with solutions. If you are looking for quality lab equipment in San Francisco, consider consulting Biotechnical Services.