ISO Pod’s External Relocatable modular solutions take the fight to Covid-19
Sligo based specialist manufacturer ISO Pod has developed a range of relocatable, modular cleanroom laboratories that allow clinicians, surgeries and laboratory technicians to conduct their work safely, reducing the risk of spreading Covid-19 or other forms of infection.
Traditionally cleanroom laboratories are associated with large scale facilities. They provide the kind of containment and aseptic systems demanded by the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
ISO Pod’s portable cleanroom laboratories have been developed to bring those same exacting standards of hygiene, just on a smaller scale, but with options to create large facilities by linking PODs. They are designed, built and qualified to ISO 14644 cleanroom/laboratory standards and come in ISO 5, 6, 7 and 8 specifications.
Right now they are particularly of use to the health sector. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a surge in awareness of the need for stringent levels of hygiene, says ISO Pods founder & CEO Brendan Dolan.
He believes the fact that clean air can help protect the health of patients, clinicians and laboratory staff is better understood now than ever before due to the awareness brought by the Covid-19 outbreak.
As a result, enquiries about its cleanroom laboratories have “grown significantly” in recent weeks, he says.
Its pods can be quickly erected, either adjacent to an existing facility or on a greenfield site. Each self-contained unit has its own HVac (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and PAL/MAL (personnel and material airlocks) or can offer a range of bespoke designs.
They are designed to generate low utilities costs, requiring no more than a standard three phase electrical connection. They are therefore efficient to operate and maintain.
A single unit typically consists of a cleanroom laboratory, a personnel airlock, a materials airlock and a technical area. Their modular format means no construction period is required on site. They come as ready-made, Clean safe internal panels of high strength and exterior insulated cladding in a variety of colours. Customers have the option to have their equipment installed prior to delivery and qualification.
ISO Pod cleanroom/laboratory doors have vision panels, drop door seals and interlocks as standard, as well as temperature and humidity control. Entry and exit personnel airlocks have a gowning facility and their lighting systems are designed specifically for cleanroom laboratories. Each also comes with fire exit push-panels as well as fire detection and communications systems.
Covid-19 has created particular demand for cleanroom laboratories with negative air pressure systems, says Mr.Dolan. Traditional positive air pressure ventilation systems pump clean, filtered air into a cleanroom laboratory, to help keep bacteria at bay.
With a virus however, what is required is a negative pressure ventilation system that sucks air out and away from any items – or personnel – in the cleanroom laboratory or surgery.
The company was set up in 2018 to create its small-scale cleanroom laboratories for a range of applications, including pilot labs for commercial and academic research and development.
Right now enquiries are coming from clinicians such as dentists and GPs looking for new ways to safeguard their own and their patients’ health in light of the virus. Many are looking for ISO Pod installation in the grounds of their own home, says Mr. Dolan.
Its solutions are also of interest to health authorities, particularly in light of the demand for negative pressure ventilation.
“Under normal circumstances what is required is positive pressure that pushes clean air onto you. With a virus you need negative systems that pull the air out, filter it, and send it to outside atmosphere as filtered clean air, while all the while replenishing the clean air inside the cleanroom laboratory,” says Mr. Dolan. ISO Pod’s cleanroom laboratories can operate either, or both, models.
Demand for small space cleanroom laboratories will grow in line with the growth of Gene cell therapy, he believes. This involves the taking, modifying and transferring of relevant cells from and to a patient. Small cleanroom laboratory facilities can enable this work to take place on site in hospitals, in a sterile environment, within just a few hours.
The company is currently working with an academic institution researching respiratory solutions for the current crisis. They are also working on designs for new mobile theatres for practices such as general surgery and dentistry.
“The advantage we offer is that customers can easily add on new space if more is required. The pods simply bolt together, either in-line or in a village configuration,” he says.
ISO Pods can also be used as oxygenated isolation rooms for patients with Covid-19, he believes, as well as to provide add-on facilities for the autoclaves used to clean surgical utensils post-operatively.
“The pandemic is resulting in a huge change in mindset about the importance of hygiene and good hygiene practices,” Dolan concluded.