Ormond Beach, FL, US – April 1st, 2020 – By mid-March, the emerging pandemic sounded alarms at the highest levels and Germfree was being asked to provide biological containment laboratories – fast. Calls came in from public health labs and researchers across the globe who work to contain local outbreaks and prevent regional epidemics. Now facing a pandemic, priorities shifted, and efforts intensified as did the need for bio-containment space. The global response to COVID-19 would reveal critical deficiencies in global laboratory capacity that now require fast, flexible solutions.
“COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges to our global laboratory infrastructure,” said Dr. Steven Jones, Associate Provost for Health Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan and co-discoverer of a vaccine for Ebola. Jones has confronted these concerns with previous coronavirus outbreaks. “Our laboratory capabilities must be agile and responsive to potential biological threats in a wide range of scenarios. In 2014, I worked with Germfree to quickly deploy one of their laboratories to the Middle East to deal with MERS, which was very similar to the current pandemic virus.”
Germfree-built facilities are in operation across the world, from resource-challenged regions to modern cities, including a high containment lab in Singapore at the forefront of COVID-19 research: “Duke-NUS was one of the first few laboratories in the world to culture the SARS-CoV-2 and since then we have been working on various aspects of the outbreak,” said Dr. Viji Vijayan, Associate Dean – Research Operations, Safety and Central Procurement at Duke-NUS.
“Building the labs that are crucial to Global Health Security – this is what we do. It is our responsibility to apply all our resources to assist with the pandemic at this time. Germfree is quickly adding factory capacity to build this essential infrastructure as well as offering expertise to industry partners who are trying to fulfill the unmet need,” said Kevin Kyle, President of Germfree. “While our mission is intact, the pandemic created a seismic shift of the landscape in which we all now operate. We quickly pivoted to focus our resources on those serving in the trenches of this terrible pandemic.”
In the 1990’s, Germfree pioneered the manufacture of mobile and modular, high containment laboratories. Germfree has since further refined designs and developed the capability to rapidly deploy facilities to any region of the world, creating a new model for disease surveillance in remote areas. “Everything that Germfree has done over the last 20 years has prepared us to contribute solutions to this type of situation,” said Keith Landy, CEO of Germfree. “I first started working with the US Army to develop equipment and mobile facilities that could address biological threats and those have evolved into all of the platforms we now use to deliver offsite-built containment labs. Germfree has over a hundred laboratory installations and has deployed the most advanced Biosafety Level 3+ labs on the planet,” continued Landy. “These installations are designed to operate in harsh conditions and remain sustainable in remote regions of the world. I think this deep-rooted experience and expertise combined with our history of global deployments has prepared Germfree to solve some of the very complex challenges that we must confront during this pandemic and for future preparedness.”
“It is vital that we have sufficient global lab capacity for the outbreaks we’ve seen, but more importantly, for the ones we must predict,” added Dr. Steven Jones.
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