One of the main functions of microbiology laboratories in modern pharmaceutical companies is to carry out routine quality control testing. This involves testing various types of samples for the presence of contaminating bacteria. Although the initial screening tests are performed using relatively simple culture plates, the fact that large numbers of such plates have to be screened means that accurate archiving and transmission of the results can be a challenge. Modern image handling and archiving systems can dramatically improve the reliability of microbiology QC systems and ensure speedy transmission of potentially vital data to the appropriate site. The case study presented in this article describes how AstraZeneca have successfully incorporated the use of image handling systems into their microbiology QC procedures.

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