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Making It Safe to Study the Virus

manufacturing's finest hour

Getting enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to doctors, nurses and first responders has been a major challenge in the battle against COVID-19. But it’s not the only one.

Manufacturers throughout the U.S. have shifted into high gear to begin making the massive amount of PPEs needed to fight the virus. Meanwhile, other manufacturers are working overtime to provide the mobile facilities researchers need to study the virus and develop tools to control and prevent it.

Germfree, a global manufacturer of mobile laboratories, has been providing remote on-site response capabilities for decades. Their experience played a key role in the Florida-based company’s ability to respond quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As early as mid-March, Germfree began receiving calls from around the globe for biological containment laboratories to combat the fast-spreading virus. As regional epidemics grew into a global pandemic, the need for bio-containment space skyrocketed. In response, Germfree significantly expanded their factory capacity while offering expertise to industry partners also trying to fulfill the unmet need.

“The pandemic has dramatically shifted the landscape in which we operate. We believe it is our responsibility to apply our full resources to assist with the pandemic at this time, so we’re currently focusing on providing what those serving in the trenches need to fight this terrible disease.”

Kevin Kyle, President of Germfree

Germfree built, delivered, and installed the mobile bio-containment lab in Singapore that was the first in the region to isolate COVID-19. In addition to ramping up deployment of mobile cleanroom containment units, the company is also developing new techniques for remote monitoring of critical controls.

Recently, Germfree delivered a 53-foot containment cleanroom trailer to a major U.S. pharmaceutical company working on a COVID-19 vaccine. This was the first of many more mobile labs the company will deliver to scientists and organizations working on virus and antibody testing, vaccine development, research, and deployment solutions.

Recognizing Germfree’s key role in fighting COVID-19, many of their most important suppliers have dedicated their resources to producing the materials needed to manufacture the containment labs. Kentucky Trailer, a key provider of specialty mobile platforms, has made Germfree their top priority. Other suppliers, including Northern Air Systems, a producer of specialty cooling units for the mobile laboratories, are putting mechanisms in place to secure the supply chain for Germfree during the pandemic.

“Thanks to our suppliers and the hard work of our employees, Germfree was able to quickly meet the need for a biocontainment unit specifically designed for COVID-19 vaccine development,” says Keith Landy, CEO of Germfree. “Yet, it is not enough just to have sufficient global lab capacity for this pandemic. The labs we’re designing to combat the coronavirus can be easily tailored to meet needs that have yet to be identified, so we’ll be better prepared for the next crisis.”

This is just one of our great customers who have risen to meet the challenge. Discover for more stories in this multi-part series.

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