Part of the Solution The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world in 2020. Solutions from Analytik Jena are crucial to the search for vaccines, diagnosing the virus, and preventing its spread.

Analytik Jena Germany / DACH

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Jena, Thuringia, Germany – as the company’s name would indicate – is the place of origin and home base of Analytik Jena. A staff of 582 in total are active for the company there and at its sites in Berlin, Göttingen, Langewiesen, and Überlingen, as well as its Swiss branch. While Jena’s Zeiss tradition is integral to the company’s historical background, the Analytik Jena story itself began with the reunification of Germany in 1990.

The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world in 2020. Solutions from Analytik Jena are crucial to the search for vaccines, diagnosing the virus, and preventing its spread


Technologically speaking, Analytik Jena has been in the proverbial eye of the storm during the 2020 pandemic. This includes pipetting robots that support the search for vaccines and RNA preparation. Polymerase chain reactions (PCR) play a central role when it comes to diagnosis, allowing the detection of viruses and antibodies – when combined with the necessary equipment and reagents.


"We managed to increase our production tenfold for the isolation of viral nucleic acids, all with the support of the same staff of twelve," said Timo Hillebrand, CEO at AJ Innuscreen, describing the tough situation in March and April 2020. His team manufactures the reagents needed to evaluate swab samples from patients. As Hillebrand explained: "If the pipetting robots and the PCR instruments are the hardware, our chemicals, which are distributed by Analytik Jena, are the software." The CyBio FeliX represents the hardware in this equation, automatically pipetting 96 samples at a time in order to extract the viruses in question and isolate their RNA. Chemical solutions remove extraneous substances to extract only the RNA. Dr. Hillebrand added: "The quality of the polymerase chain reaction and the test results depend on how successful we are in cleanly isolating the nucleic acid."

Increased demand for PCR systems

The polymerase chain reaction itself takes place deep within the belly of the thermocyclers, which include Analytik Jena’s qTOWER, Biometra TRobot II, and Biometra-Thermocycler. A typical segment of the (single-strand) RNA is selected in the process to be reverse-transcribed into (double-strand) DNA, after which the double strands are melted back into single strands at 95 degrees Celsius so that they can reduplicate. This occurs by adding the enzyme polymerase at reduced heat, leading to the reduplication of the reduplication of the reduplication etc. in a chain reaction. If the test is positive, the strand reduplicates itself as if by magic and becomes detectable.

The sudden rise in demand affected both reagents and equipment equally. As Matthias Ludwig, application specialist for Life Science recalled: "Analytik Jena sold twice as many PCR systems in the first half of 2020 than it did in all of the previous year." Demand was registered from microbiology labs the world over, including well-equipped labs that needed to boost their capacities even further.

Eggert Appel, team leader for product development in PCR technology, which is manufactured in Göttingen and Jena, added: "This of course presented us with challenges. Building such a large number of instruments requires mechanical and electronic parts and components. And the electronic items are mostly manufactured in Asia, which meant delivery bottlenecks due to corona restrictions." And, as is often the case, crises have knock-on effects leading to the emergence of other trends. Eggert Appel described some of the current and future needs: "New labs that are created especially to detect the virus require all the basic equipment, bringing about a higher level of demand. There also seems to be a rise in market demand for mobile labs for testing in remote locations. We’re now working on equipment to meet those particular needs."

In my element

Adeline Vargas

Regional Offi ce Manager, Swiss branch

Workwise, I’m in my element … 
when what I’m doing is for a good cause. I spend a lot of time at work, and I back our products to the hilt. It’s important to me to share ideas with my colleagues, which includes treating each other’s proposals with respect and make good compromises.

Privately, I’m in my element … 
when I dance. Whether I’m sad, upset, or happy – I can throw everything into my Middle Eastern dance and process my feelings. And my circle of friends is important to me; we learn from each other at a deep level.

For the anniversary … 
I’d bring a tasty Gugelhupf cake with almonds and raisins, which is typical of Alsace where I’m from, or choucroute, our own type of sauerkraut.

Eggert Appel

Team Leader Product Development, PCR Technology, Göttingen

Workwise, I’m in my element …
when I’m able to team up with motivated people to solve problems and when everyone is on board with positive enthusiasm – team-oriented, respectful, and responsible.

Privately, I’m in my element … 
whenever I’m just enjoying life with my family: relaxed shopping trips, walking the dog, working together with my wife, going out to eat with her and our son.

For the anniversary … 
I’d bring food from Lower Saxony, where I come from. Kale with potatoes and Bregenwurst, asparagus, potatoes and ham, Ahle Wurst – it wouldn’t be the same without those specialties.

Claudia Schneider

Senior Specialist Sales Support, Jena

Workwise, I’m in my element … 
when I’m putting things together in the back ground so that everyone can do their work. I’ve been here for 25 years, with a passion, and I know that databases are only noticed when they aren’t maintained properly. I take care of them so that they don’t get in the way.

Privately, I’m in my element … 
when I’m working to strengthen my community. I’m the chairperson of our primary school booster association even though my kids graduated long ago, and I’m active in the local maypole society as well. As I tell my son: Traditions only survive if we keep them alive. And now he’s getting into it as well.

For the anniversary … 
I’d bring Mutzbraten, a local Thuringian specialty of pork roasted on a spit.

Dr. Christiane Ehrling

Site Manager Langewiesen & Head of Product Development Elemental Analysis / Sum Parameters

Workwise, I’m in my element … 
when I’m working with my team to find creative solutions for market-ready products. It’s important to me that I stay open-minded and curious. I’m always looking for new challenges.

Privately, I’m in my element … 
in two ways: when I’m diving and when I’m taking pictures. Whether in local lakes or far away in the world’s oceans, it’s a great way to relax from my busy life, and I can fi nd peace and clear my head. And I capture whatever I fi nd there with my camera. But also when I’m with my family, all five generations.

For the anniversary … 
it’d have to be a birthday cake. I’d bake a chocolate cake and bring a bottle of good red wine for later in the evening.

Ewald Haak

Design Engineer, Überlingen

Workwise, I’m in my element …
when I’m in the midst of working on a new concept and begin to realize that it can in fact work. My profession is my calling and that’s a great gift.

Privately, I’m in my element … 
when I’m out with my bees. My grandfather was a beekeeper and once, when a swarm broke off , it became my first bee colony when I was 15. I’m actually quite a restless person but I have to remain still with my bees. I plunge into a diff erent world that’s alive and hums – and communicates in a mysterious way.

For the anniversary … 
I’ll bring a jar of honey. My bees live in the midst of organic fields and are always busy gathering their dandelions there.

Automated Pipette Robot - CyBio FeliX Flexible and fully automatic multi-channel pipetting robot

Learn more: CyBio FeliX

Automated PCR Machine - Biometra TRobot II Leading PCR expertise for the automated workflow

Learn more: Biometra TRobot II

Standard PCR Thermal Cyclers DNA amplification for a wide variety of applications

Learn more: Thermal Cyclers