Pharmaceutical Isolators in a lab setting combined with the drive-through COVID test sites that have quickly sprung up in metropolitan areas.

What it does

Drive through testing facilities increase testing opportunities for our community while maintaining social distancing practices, however they deplete an already low supply of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and put our HCP (Healthcare Professionals) at elevated risk of exposure. This has forced some HCP to reuse PPE in order to continue testing for COVID-19.

Our solution presents an efficient Drive Through Isolator (DTI) sampling station that allows for a simple cleaning to better protect our HCP and reduce PPE waste in between patient testing.

How I built it

After arriving at a general concept, we took a three-tiered approach to provide practical solutions. These three tiers provide flexibility in how a drive-through test site might put this concept into action.

Option 1: Use commercially available resources to provide a quick and easy-to-implement solution that increases HCP protection while they test patients. This solution could be easily adopted within a 24-48 hour period as all supplies (e.g. magnetized shower curtain, “broken window” film, clear car wraps, etc.) are all readily available at stores. Additionally, this solution cuts down on PPE waste because it provides a disposable (or semi-reusable) barrier between a potentially infected patient and the HCP. Instead of changing PPE after testing each patient, the HCP would only have to swap out the potentially contaminated barrier, thus leading to drastic PPE savings for these resources which remain in short supply.

Option 2: Similar to Option 1, this solution would primarily use components that are readily available but would require some slight modifications in order to scale production for widespread demand. This solution entails a prefabricated plexiglass (or similar) panel with installed glove penetrations that could be affixed to the exterior of a car window using adhesive film or magnets. We estimate that this solution could be widely deployed within a 2 week period if private sector partners (e.g 3M, lab equipment manufacturers, glove box manufacturers, etc.) were able to refine the design and produce components at scale.

Option 3: This solution is the most robust and reusable option, but will require the longest lead time (and potentially highest cost) to implement at scale. This option calls for a fully prefabricated drive through isolator station with an accordion canopy that has the capability to dock with all major car makes and models. This option would require industry partners to fully spec out and design this mobile isolator station. We estimate this option would take industry leaders 2-6 weeks to finalize the design and manufacture in mass quantities. This solution is reusable and would allow for quick and effective sanitization in between patient tests, thus minimizing the need for HCPs to change their PPE throughout a given day.

Challenges I ran into

While coming up with solutions to this problem we wanted to use a tiered approach since testing is needed now and expected to greatly increase around the world in the coming weeks. So we decided to use 3 options to prevent any delays as testing ramps up while also protecting the HCP’s. Cost

Option 1: Parts can be easily found at Home Improvement stores along with large retail stores. There are various combinations of parts that can be used to build the barrier such as a shower curtain, car wraps, drop cloths, self-adhesive protection films, etc. Long sleeve disposable gloves can also be found at these retailers. We expect costing per DTI to be $11 per unit roll is enough for ~100 cars. $.42/car $10

Option 2: The Isolator glove assembly can be manufactured with plexiglass and the plastic flange is used as glove port connections. Then off the shelf nitrile gloves can be used to stretch the glove sleeve around the flange while taping the glove sleeve in place. We expect the non-reusable cost per DTI to be $2 per unit. The capital cost per unit is $100  This roll is enough for ~100 cars. $1.88/car roll is enough for ~100 cars. $.42/car$6.99 for ~50 cars. $.14/car $10 plexiglass. $45 tape. $10

South Korea’s phone booth solution is a great example of this.

Option 3: This would require help from chemical, pharmaceutical glove box manufacturers or supplies to use existing glove passage panel’s and connected to an accordion tunnel.  The accordion tunnel will be mounted to the outside of the car's window. Each until would cost $2000 since each part needs to be heavily modified so that they can be integrated together.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We created a solution that could greatly reduce HCP exposure risk today while also allowing time for more permanent and industrial grade solutions over the coming week’s.

What I learned

After consulting with two RNs familiar with COVID-19 drive through testing procedures, we are confident that our solution is a clear improvement from current test practices. Adding an additional protective barrier between the HCPs and patients will minimize the risk of exposure and allow test centers to use their PPE resources more sparingly.

What's next for Drive-through Isolator Sampling Station

Get the concept into the hands of isolator manufacturers.



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