In support to the Department of Health’s (DOH) efforts to conduct mass testing in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will mass produce Sample Collection Booths (SCBs) as it passes validation tests from four hospitals.
Designed and fabricated by DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Startup Grant awardee Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME), the SCBs passed initial performance assessment conducted at the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital.
Jointly supported by DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), FAME’s SCBs are inspired by the telephone booth-style coronavirus testing stations in other Asian countries.
The SCBs are 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.
The SCBs will be delivered to the DOH identified testing locations by April 30 which around the country.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara lauded FAME for stepping up to the plate and immediately responding to the need for SCBs in the country.
“As we continue to make change happen in the Philippines through research and development, we are optimistic that these SCBs will tip the scales in our fight against COVID-19, giving us a faster way to identify and isolate patients,” she said.
DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit acknowledged FAME’s innovative approach in helping frontliners in battling COVID-19 in the country. FAME was a DOST-PCIEERD Startup Grant Awardee for its low-cost transponders developed for small boats with fisherfolks in mind.
“FAME upped the ante in our fight against COVID-19. As a leader and partner in enabling research, innovations and development in the country, we will continue to support innovators who, do not only push technological boundaries but also respond to pressing challenges in the Philippines,” he said.DOST PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya stressed the importance of protecting the frontline workers in our country’s fight against COVID-19. He said, “In this fight, our heroes are the frontline workers. Through this project, we are providing a new level of protection for our health workers whose health may be at risk due to shortages in PPEs. Likewise, this SCB is an inspiring method to support our goal of mass testing.”