Together with a mass spectrometer, the ThinkStation P620 powers the rapid characterization and quality control of vaccines with results within one hour
CTVacinas is one of the most important biotechnology research laboratories in Brazil. Located within the biotechnology hub of the Belo Horizonte Technology Park (BH-TEC), it was created in 2016 from a partnership between the René Rachou Institute of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz-Minas) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). The institution has over 80 researchers from various areas of science and technology working on the development of vaccines for human and veterinary diseases, as well as kits for diagnosis.
With the high demand for immunizers to combat COVID-19, since April 2020, a group of over 40 researchers from the center has been working on SpiN-TEC UFMG MCTI, the first 100 percent Brazilian-made vaccine against the virus—from the production of inputs to distribution. For the development of the new vaccine, CTVacinas acquired a new spectrometer, a device that identifies molecules by measuring their mass and chemical structure characteristics, thus performing molecular composition.
Diana Paola Gómez Mendoza, postdoctoral fellow in Molecular Biology and the CTVacinas researcher who leads the mass spectrometry laboratory, explained that to work together with a robust device like the spectrometer, a workstation with high processing power, storage, and memory was needed. A common computer would be unable to support and analyze approximately 1GB per file, especially not with speed.
“We constantly generate data,” Mendoza said. “Without the support of a high-performance machine, we would not have enough backup capacity to maintain the programs that search in databases for chemical structure prediction and their compositions.”
Given the need for reliable equipment to support the development, CTVacinas initiated a bidding process in June 2022 to purchase a workstation to complete the operation. The chosen solution was the Lenovo ThinkStation P620, which directly performs the detection and analysis of data coming from the spectrometer.
The process for the implementation of Lenovo’s solution took less than three months to be completed, ending in September 2022. Mendoza reported that the differential in choosing Lenovo’s solution was its direct service, which was crucial to detail the technical specifications for use with the spectrometer. The ThinkStation P620, which is the first workstation in the world with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO processor, was customized in Mexico for CTVacinas with 7 SSD disks and 256GB of RAM, and also includes two ThinkVision S24e monitors with integrated ergonomic adjustments.
According to Mendoza, “the process of reading data coming from the spectrometer demands a lot, so with this workstation, it is clear that we can perform analyses with more speed and efficiency, obtaining results in up to one hour.”
With the support of Lenovo’s solution, the SpiN-TEC UFMG MCTI had its first application in volunteers in November 2022 and is on the way to the second phase of tests this fall.
Leandro Lofrano, director of products at Lenovo for the corporate market, said, “It is an honor for Lenovo, in partnership with CTVacinas, to promote the development of Brazilian science through innovative technologies like those prepared for the ThinkStation line. Therefore, we work day after day to offer increasingly more solutions focused on helping companies and institutions in Brazil, of various sectors and sizes, to continue on the path of digital transformation for the benefit of our society.”
For greater peace of mind of the CTVacinas research team, the ThinkStation P620 was purchased with a five-year warranty and with Premier Support, Lenovo’s priority technical assistance service, which guarantees next business day assistance and priority access to parts for the ThinkStation, every day, at any time and place. Mendoza highlighted the importance of the added service and projects new acquisitions for the laboratory.
“The experience we are having with Lenovo’s support and solutions, something we didn’t have with other manufacturers, was decisive for us,” Mendoza said.