Mobile Cleanroom – Reaching out to the people
It happened a few years ago when the word ‘Covid’ hadn’t come into existence. We were in a meeting with one of our clients deep in the Africa interiors, extensively discussing about their expectations and concerns. Little anyone amongst us would have thought that their expectation would eventually become so pertinent to the post-Covid era.
Concerned about the adverse impact that the nuclear radiation might have on humans as much as animals, our client was quite keen to address the issue by setting up testing facilities in areas surrounding nuclear plants and mining sites of nuclear fuel. Two years down the line and around the globe, we found ourselves dealing with an even more serious situation. The mobile sampling and testing facility, that our client had thought earlier, came into being and began playing a crucial role in the prevention and further spread of the Covid19 pandemic.
This era witnessed many measures being undertaken in this regard, such as conversion of trucks and vans into a mobile cleanroom facility. This was carried out with a view to give some flexibility to the end users and increase their reach for sampling, testing and immunisation in populous areas that had remained deprived of basic healthcare facilities and infrastructure.
The advent of mobile cleanroom mapped the path for Fabtech, making our moto of solving for our customers even stronger. Through our product Fab MO- DOTS, we took upon building facilities and setting up testing centres accessible in remote places. The sampling and testing process of this multi-purpose facility encompassed widespread diseases viz. Covid, Flu, Anthrax and Ebola. This outreach remarkably helped us go from strength to strength as we could live up to our clients’ expectation even during the dire times of the pandemic crisis.
Let us now take you through some key attributes of our product to help you understand it better:
- Trailer & Trotter Design
- Integrated truck mounted Lab
- Round the clock HVAC
- Pressure Gradation
- Multi stage filtration (Pre, Fine, HEPA, ULPA etc.)
- Ultra Violet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
- Unidirectional Airflow
- Interlocked supply and exhaust units to avoid reverse airflow
The major application of the product also includes:
- Disease Outbreak responses
- Disease Surveillance Programs
- CBRN Conditions
- Transition lab requirements
- Remote Microbial lab requirements
- Temporary facility establishments
- Military establishments
- Epidemics & Pandemics
- Radiation exposure Surveillance
Bio-Safety Level (BSL) that forms an integral part of the product also needs an important mention here. The application of these safety precautions is put in place within the cleanroom facility so as to ensure isolation from the potential hazards arising in the manufacturing environment.
To elaborate more on BSL protocols, it is imperative to understand the biosafety containment levels, ranging from BSL1 to BSL4.
- Biocontainment: The containment of extremely pathogenic organisms (as viruses) usually by isolation in secure facilities, to prevent their accidental release especially during research.
- BSL Levels:
- BSL-1 Low Risk: individuals and communities.
- BSL-2 Moderate Risk: to individuals, Low risk to communities.
- BSL-3 High Risk: to individuals, limited risk to communities.
- BSL-4 High Risk: to individuals and communities.
Below chart should help us get a detailed understanding about the BSL Classification.
Below are the necessary characteristics that help in keeping the cleanroom facility at low risk of contamination:
- Access through 2 self-closing doors with an air space between Single pass ventilation system, exhausting all room air to the outside
- Seams, floors, walls, and ceiling surfaces should be sealed. Spaces around doors and ventilation openings should be capable of being sealed to facilitate space decontamination
- The lab should be kept under negative pressure at all times regardless of BSC power
- Interior surface of walls, floors and ceiling sealed and utility penetrations
- Ducted ventilation system, airflow should be from “clean” to “less clean” areas
- Chairs should be covered in a non-porous material
- Decontaminate trash within the lab- Autoclave
- All work must be performed in a BSC
- Coved floors
- Sealed penetrations
- Lighting flush to ceiling
- Hands-free sink near exit door
- Eyewash/shower station
- Pass through autoclave
Technical Overview for BSL 3 facility is listed below:
- Negative airflow (into lab)
- Most negative at rear of lab
- > 12 air changes per hour
- -0.05”H20 pressure diff.
- Dedicated exhaust fan
- Exhaust/supply interlock
- Exhaust velocity >3000 fpm, away from intakes, people
- Direct exhaust, no recirculation
- Airflow monitor, gauges
- CO2/N2 feed from outside
- Keycard, locked access
- Doors open inward, self-closing
- Access fixtures from outside space
- Door sign at entry
- Class II BSC
- Canopy exhaust over BSC
- Means of communication to areas outside lab
The research and special purpose activities are undertaken in this zone. However, the presence of very active pathogens in (BSL3/BSL4) pose a challenge for the designers & manufacturers. This is because crucial parameters of preparing an air tight compartment with negative air pressure must be met so as to save the outer atmosphere from highly reactive elements.
It is also critical to achieve high level of safety of the laboratory personnel by efficient usage of personnel protective equipment’s and practicing SOP for the activities inside the laboratory.
Moreover, due attention must be given to sterilizing the room before the commencement of work inside the laboratory. It thus becomes essential for the operator to stay abreast of the standard lab operating manual and SOPs.
Some more engineering controls are as follows:
- Animal Care & Use
- Micro-isolator cages, ventilated cage racks
- ventilated cage racks
- poles & collars (NHP’s)
- squeeze-back cages
- Spill-clean up
- tongs, forceps, broom & dust pan, manila folder
- paper towels, bench matting
The above factors have proved to be a gaining ground for Fabtech to represent itself in many projects viz. IGIB, IIIM, IICB and more for BSL facility. It has been a twin pathway that helped us not only acquire a deeper understanding of cleanroom development in a mobile trolley, but also enabled us do our bit in the global healthcare.
It has been quite gratifying to contribute towards saving more lives and live up to our name of being “Life Engineers”!