G-CON's containment PODs launched in response to Ebola crisis

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

G-CON's PODs can help contain the Ebola virus, of which there is no approved vaccine
G-CON's PODs can help contain the Ebola virus, of which there is no approved vaccine

Related tags Ebola

G-CON has responded to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa by retooling its “vaccine facility in a box” PODs as patient isolation units to help stop the spread of the disease.

The G-CON PODs were originally developed as high containment manufacturing units that can be connected to create flexible production facilities for biopharmaceutical companies making vaccines, antibody-based therapeutics and small molecules drugs.

However, the tech’s containment capabilities can be extended beyond the manufacturing setting according to COO, Maik Jornitz, who told BioPharma-Reporter.com the current Ebola outbreak prompted the firm to apply its knowhow to patient isolation.

“We see that some hospitals are not able to contain such break-outs and required containment options to isolate patients,”​ he told Biopharma-Reporter.com. 

“The PODs are ideal for such containment and could be positioned in any place to rapidly isolate any infected patient from the general population.

“The current Ebola outbreak shows also that such PODs are needed for remote areas, as again, the containment options within these regions are not up to the challenge to contain this horrific disease,” ​he continued. “The situation in West Africa probably accelerated our, already in place, development of a containment POD.”

The idea is to take the mobility and rapid deployment elements to offer a strict containment vessel in the fight against both the current outbreak and transmissible diseases which, according to Jornitz, are on the rise.

There are no approved treatments for Ebola and though this crisis has seen some biopharma companies increase their efforts​ to bring antibodies and other vaccines to human trial, none are likely to be ready until at least next year.

Containment - First line of defence

“Current options lack the appropriate robustness of containment, and containment is the first defence when it comes to aggressive transmissibles”​ Jornitz said, adding that the patient containment POD is one of several applications being examined.

Like the vaccine production POD, this patients isolation unit has a fixed, epoxy coated ceiling, redundant HEPA bag-in/bag out returns, generator system, unidirectional flow, decontamination bay on the exit side.

It also features space for stretchers to be positioned in the air locks, and negative pressure cascade into the inside of the POD. Furthermore, Jornitz told us, there is water and waste tanks, access points to gas, and the entire POD is epoxy coated for ease of cleaning.

G-CON teamed up with GEA Processing Engineering and Pfizer​  to develop a portable system for the manufacture of oral solid dose form drugs, and recently the Big Pharma firm endorsed the ‘podular’ manufacturing concept with a multi-million dollar investment​.

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