Rapid Medical Mobilization for COVID-19 Testing, Vaccination and Other Critical Relief Efforts
Quick-response mobile, customizable containers, trailers and vehicles are offering medical professionals new tools to combat not only the pandemic, but also other urgent healthcare issues.
- By Del Williams
- Jan 29, 2021
In addition to new vaccines and tests, the battle against COVID-19 has another effective tool to deploy: quick response, mobile and customizable containers, trailers and vehicles that can be configured into labs, vaccination clinics and essentially whatever is required for effective treatment on the front lines. Afterwards, they must be able to be repeatedly moved to successive crisis points.
One example is the Athena Mobile Laboratory, a state-of-the-art, rapidly deployable mobile lab housed in a customizable container structure. Athena Mobile Laboratory is already being utilized in several U.S. Department of Defense facilities for COVID-19 testing of military service members and support staff, according to Christopher Hollars, Ph.D., director of Emerging Technical Solutions at MRIGlobal, a non-profit, world leader in technology and science. The mobile labs used for COVID-19 testing are typically equipped with diagnostic instrumentation and a biological safety cabinet that protects the analyst whenever the sample is exposed, notes Hollars. In addition, a safety shower and eye wash station were installed to mitigate incidental exposure.
While the mobile lab was readily adapted to COVID-19 testing and safety protocols, it was actually developed before the pandemic by MRIGlobal in partnership with St. Charles, Missouri-based Craftsmen Industries, a rapid designer and fabricator of mobile, containerized units for temporary or permanent use. Since 1982, Craftsmen has fabricated mobile units for organizations such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Verizon, Dell and AmerenUE, along with dozens of others.
Prior to the pandemic, the mobile labs have been used for a variety of testing applications, including CBRNE and forensics laboratory space. An earlier version was utilized for Ebola diagnostics testing in rural West Africa and are still in operation, according to Hollars.
Today, each COVID-19 mobile lab is built with design advancements identified by MRIGlobal, which has over 15 years of experience with mobile medical and defense technology. However, the final design is still completely customizable for highly specialized purposes.