DOST, FAME develop COVID-19 specimen collection booth for mass testing

DOST FAME develop COVID-19 specimen booth
SCB prototype test at UP-PGH. Photo from PCIEERD.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise (FAME) have developed a specimen collection booth (SCBs) to be used in COVID-19 mass testing in the Philippines.

In a virtual presser held on April 27, 2020, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña announced the completion of 132 units of specimen collection booths requested by the Health Department to boost and increase hospital testing capacity for COVID-19.

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The booth design required zero contact between the person collecting the specimen and the people providing the samples.

DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) spearheaded the project while DOST partner Startup Grant awardee, FAME, developed and manufactured the SCBs.

There were an initial four prototypes that all received positive feedback after being tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), and Jose N. Rodriguez National Memorial Hospital (JRNMH).

The prototypes were tested per safety protocols of doctors with regard to getting specimens for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19).

The design of the local SCB was based on the designs of testing booths in other countries.

The Specimen Collection Booths will be allocated to hospitals within April 2020. Screengrab from DOST Philippines Virtual Presser.

PCIEERD described the SCBs as “compact, with good ventilation, easy to mobilize, can remotely monitor the patient’s temperature and is a good protective barrier between the frontliner and the suspected COVID-19 patient.

“It has window-mounted nitrile gloves that are disinfected for five minutes after every patient to protect them from others getting tested. Other current designs from different sources were also considered in the selection of the final design for the SCB considering safety for both tester and patient, mobility of the unit and compactness of the design for ease of deployment.

“Testing will be conducted by seating each patient outside the booth while the medical professional collects their samples by swabbing their nose and throat using arm-length nitrile gloves built into the front window of the booth. Then, the sample will be taken to the accredited laboratories for diagnostic purposes.

“Used gloves and other hazardous waste are properly disposed in hazardous waste bins.”

Allocation of the SCBs are as follows:

95 SCBs to Level 2 and 3 hospitals in the NCR
35 SCPs to regional hospitals

All of the SCBs are expected to be delivered by the end of April.

DOST Secretary de la Peña said the agency realized that 132 units will not be enough so they are asking for donors of SCBs to protect health workers.

The science and technology chief also announced that they are offering their design to be given away for free to other manufacturers that want to produce SCBs provided that they follow the specifications set by PCIEERD and PCHRD.

These are some of the requirements for the construction of the booth:

  • sturdy frame with angle bars that are covered with plywood
  • clear waterproof acrylic window
  • provided with a .5hp window type air conditioning unit
  • roof-mounted ventilator with filter
  • positive pressure sensor to ensure constant positive pressure of the booth

For interested parties who would like to acquire the design and for more information and requirements, contact the nearest DOST office in the area. NCR inquiries can contact PCIEERD care of Russel Pidi Tel. 0917 7761232.

The DOST-FAME specimen collection booth design is being offered for free to manufacturers.

DOST has addressed several needs of the nation during the COVID-19 public health emergency with partnerships that developed equipment and supplies. Among these, is the first Philippine-made COVID-19 testing kit developed by the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health, LISA robots developed with the University of Santo Tomas, and the AI Drone Thermal Scanner developed by Far Eastern University.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to DOST and FAME for developing and offering their design of Specimen Collection Booths to address the need for mass testing in the Philippines.

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