Advances in Lab Equipment for Medicine, Industry and Research

Lab equipment has undergone a dramatic evolution, driven largely by the increasingly complex demands of medicine and a wide range of industries along with those of researchers in numerous fields. The revolution in medical diagnostics, for instance, probably began in the late 50’s. At the time, urinalysis for protein and sugar involved tests conducted in the laboratory and required the use of test tubes and the specialised reagents, salicyl-sulphonic acid and Benedict’s or Fehling’s solution respectively. 

Driven by the doctors’ need to conduct such tests at the bedside, the industry responded with urinary test strips impregnated with various chemicals. The earliest products were for the detection of glycosuria, but were soon joined by strips that could simultaneously detect sugar, protein, blood and measure urinary pH without the need for lab equipment.

Back in the laboratory, the increased demand for blood tests, spurred the development of automated analysis. This resulted in instruments that could handle large sample batches and determine the concentrations of components in blood serum, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate and urea. Other disciplines of pathology have also benefitted from automation. The haematologists gained red, white and differential cell counting machines while the bacteriologists was given the means to automate the tedious process of plating bacterial cultures for antibiotic sensitivity testing.

Manufacturing products that are free of contaminants, and whose composition is constant is vital to both the pharmaceutical and food processing industries. Inevitably, these needs have been met with the development of new technologies along with the advanced lab equipment that is needed to improve the specificity, sensitivity, reproducibility and the speed with which the necessary tests may be conducted.

Research, particularly in the medical field, has seen once experimental techniques, such as organ transplantation, assume the status of a routine procedure, This, in a world where reproductive specialists are now able to cryogenically preserve sperm and ova, and then use them to create and nurture a human embryo outside of the womb. Today is the age of gene sequencing and genetic engineering. It is an era in which stem cell research seems to hold the promise of a near panacea and oncologists have access to tests that can pinpoint the nature and location of a developing tumour and monitor the progress of chemotherapy with sophisticated lab equipment and reagents.

IEPSA is a company that is in the forefront of those involved in meeting the demand for the apparatus and reagents that have now become essential to the many disciplines of medicine, to industry and to researchers in South Africa. First established in 1980 as an importer and distributor of specialised diagnostic products, we too have undergone a revolution. Today, we serve the needs of those engaged in immunology, gene therapy, assisted reproduction, cancer research, tissue banking and stem cell research. We provide the lab equipment used for cryopreservation and the means to monitor its use for the prolonged storage of live biological material.

The food and beverage industry has recently been told by government to introduce more stringent labelling and in this area too, IEPSA now sources the latest products from the recognised leaders in food analysis technology in Europe and the US. We back this with professional support for commissioning and implementation of all supplied lab equipment.

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