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A fully automated coronavirus testing system began operations at Fujita Health University in Toyoake, in the prefecture of Aichi, last month.

The system uses robots to conduct polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, significantly reducing infection risks for technicians.

“The system will reduce the burden on medical workers, who are becoming exhausted from measures aimed at preventing infections,” especially as Japan braces for a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, Hiroyasu Ito, a professor at the university, said.

The system, developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., is housed in a container 2.5 meters wide and 12.2 meters long, and has 13 robotic arms. It conducts all the steps required to test samples for coronavirus infections without human intervention.

The university is aiming to make it possible for the system to produce test results in just 80 minutes.

Infection risks are also believed to be significantly lowered, as people do not have to enter the container during the testing process.

The system can screen up to 2,500 samples per day. The university said that trials using actual samples have shown that it can produce accurate results.

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