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August 10, 2020

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Mobile test lab at Pudong airport

A MOBILE nucleic acid testing lab is now open at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The container-sized lab can carry out the whole process, from sampling to testing. This can shave two hours off the time required for a test, as samples don’t need to be sent to downtown labs.

It’s the country’s first mobile protection level II plus nucleic acid testing laboratory reduced to the size of a standard shipping container.

The lab was co-designed by Shanghai Baoshan Pacific Container Co, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Travel Health Care Center of Shanghai Customs.

It can complete at least 200 tests per day. In the future, its testing capability is expected to increase to 1,500, according to Xu Jinyong, general manager of Shanghai Baoshan Pacific Container Co. “Though it is less than 30 square meters, its processing capacity is equivalent to that of a traditional medium-to-large-scale laboratory in the city,” Xu said. 

The lab has a reagent preparation room, a sample processing room and a nucleic acid detection room, all meeting the specification requirements for enhanced biosafety level II plus laboratories. Eighty percent of the detection equipment is developed and produced by domestic companies.

After being assembled in the factory, the lab can be used directly after being moved to the site and plugged in, with a constant temperature, humidity and pressure.

Testing personnel enter the lab from one side and leave from the other side. As the exhaust system and the fresh air ventilation system are separately piped, they don’t need to wear thick protective clothing in the lab or worry about the risk of spillage.

If there is a risk, they can immediately call for help through the one-click alarm function thanks to the application of advancing technologies including 5G and Internet of Thing.

Assistants monitor the work in the lab, prepare enough regents for the testing and send samples from planes to the lab. According to Xu, the lab has great potential as one can be made in just three weeks and can be transported by truck, train and ship.

“We are now exploring more application scenarios such as cruise terminals and railway stations,” he said. “Also, we have talked with potential customers from countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.”


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