Germfree mobile lab

Germfree delivers ‘cleanroom’ trailer

April 20, 2020
With help from Kentucky Trailer, US biocontainment company sets up mobile unit for coronavirus vaccine work

Germfree recently delivered a 53-foot containment cleanroom trailer to a major US pharmaceutical company, which will use the trailer as a workspace for developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The company said the cleanroom trailer is the first of what is expected to be many mobile laboratory spaces that will be delivered to scientists and organizations working on virus and antibody testing, vaccine development, research, and deployment solutions. Germfree was able to meet the need for a biocontainment unit specifically designed for COVID-19 vaccine development because it has experience providing rapidly deployable biocontainment lab space.

Germfree says it has provided mobile containment cleanrooms for surge capacity, hospital renovations and emergency preparedness since the 1990s. In recent years, it deployed more than 60 mobile solutions like the ones needed to meet the COVID-19 crisis to public and private healthcare systems across the US, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, UW Medicine, Yale New Haven Health, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  

That experience positions Germfree to provide what is needed now, as well as solutions that can be tailored to meet needs that have yet to be identified. 

“While not endorsing any particular company or product, rapidly deployable, complete laboratories will greatly enhance the US response to testing for COVID-19,”  said Paul Jensen, PhD, who is the lead for infection control and biosafety at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Just as scientists and healthcare professionals have pivoted to focus efforts on reducing the lethality of COVID-19, Germfree employees and the company's supply chains have coordinated to be ready to provide researchers and healthcare systems with what they need to fight this virus, the company maintained. And with an “essential critical infrastructure workforce” designation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and procedures in place to protect the health of employees, Germfree remains ready to produce. 

Over the years, Germfree has developed strong relationships with vendors, assuring a continuous supply chain for production, the company added. Some, such as Kentucky Trailer, a key provider of specialty mobile platforms, are prioritizing Germfree so it can quickly meet needs in the field.

“We clearly understand the importance of Germfree’s mobile labs in the national response to COVID-19,” said Tom Harper, vice president at Kentucky Trailer. “Early on, we worked together to put a plan in place to prioritize critical production demands and maintain supply chain resiliency during these unprecedented circumstances.”

Gary A Smith Sr, president and CEO of Kentucky Trailer, said his company, also designated as an essential business by DHS, and associates are “honored to assist Germfree in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“What we make matters, underscored by the importance in the combined effort of two great companies partnering to address this historic, must-win challenge,” he said.

Other manufacturers also formalize plans to provide Germfree with components, the company said. 

“We put extra mechanisms in place to avert disruptions and secure the supply chain for Germfree during the pandemic,” said Tim Confer, president of Northern Air Systems, a provider of specialty cooling units for the mobile laboratories.