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[COVID-19 Update]: MIT’s Testing Trailer Can Test 1500 People in a Day; US Secures 100M Doses From Moderna

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been at the forefront of leveraging new innovations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, MIT has built its own testing facility that is capable of testing up to 1500 people in a day.

The phrase “when there is adequate and proper testing” has become the deafening roar to put a halt on the impact of COVID-19. However, when we speak about testing, umpteen concerns rise up. Some essential concerns surround issues regarding testing availability, quality of testing, and the strategy involved. When one thinks about testing, we usually picture a doctor or a nurse wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). However, the question is, how safe is this PPE in reality?

Medical personnel requires regular replacement of the PPE to test safely on a day-to-day basis. Also, there is a drastic shortage of PPE in the market. However, even after regular replacement, there’s a risk of the doctor or nurse inhaling the infectious particles that might cling to the masks or gowns.

MIT Medical’s chief of staff, Brian Schuetz and his team has been working on a testing trailer to meet the aforementioned challenges. The testing trailer is equipped with a check-in station and six testing bays. The entire trailer spans floor-to-ceiling plastic partition to separate the medical personnel and those getting tested. A tester can fit his/her arms into the wide rubber gloves in each bay to get the nasal swab without any physical contact with a potentially infected person. The trailer also accommodates an improved HVAC system, which prevents air infusion from both sides. The HVAC system is capable of pumping air at 700 cubic feet per minute. The air is pumped in a way such that a pressure difference is maintained on both sides. This pressure difference further prevents the air from mixing.

Such an extent of separation allows medical personnel to work with surgical masks only instead of wearing the complete PPE. The testing facility is capable of testing up to 1500 people every day.

Schuetz commented on the trailer:

The result is: The folks behind that plastic are very safe. If we can make our team comfortable and patients comfortable, we can help everyone be safer. […] One of the biggest challenges in this whole effort was figuring out how to get all these disparate pieces put together, and I think we’ve created a solution that works together to help the campus be safe. It’s really an example of MIT at its best — innovation from the ground up.

The testing facility helps the students a lot as MIT’s Information Systems and Technology group has interconnected it to MIT’s COVID Pass system – which keeps track of members and allows only those who have tested negative to enter the campus.

Significant modifications were made to the final design of the trailer such that the bay’s windows can be adjusted in accordance with the tester’s height to fit the gloves conveniently.

A team member in-charge of the design stated, “It’s not over now that it’s built. It continues to be a versatile design, and we are still here on campus if needed, to update it.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Update – US Signs Deal With Moderna

The United States of America signed a second deal with Moderna, an American biotechnology company, to pre-order 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that the company is currently developing. The US paid $1.525 billion to seal the deal. With this partnership, the United States has officially secured a total of 800 million doses of vaccine from the different companies leading in the vaccine development race.

Moderna vaccine

Earlier, America had already signed a contract of $995 million with Moderna for the development of the vaccine. In the two deals put together, America will spend $2.48 billion for the Moderna vaccine. A part of this money is for obtaining the vaccine within a particular time period, which has not been disclosed yet.

Moderna revealed that the contract also includes the provision to purchase an additional 400 million doses of the vaccine.

Moderna’s vaccine is currently in Phase 3 of clinical trial and is expected to roll out in early 2021.


Read More: WireX – August Issue

Muskan Bagrecha
Muskan is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor's in Technology. With a zealous spirit for writing, she finds herself open to the vast realm of learning. She is an avid programmer with a keen interest in technology and science.

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