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Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) has developed a prototype biocontainment system.

The prototype was developed in response to a request by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

It will be used to protect medical professionals when processing testing kits for the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Two prototypes of the system were built by Shop 64, Sail Loft and Code 2370.27, Refueling Containments Branch.

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NAVSEA commander vice admiral Thomas Moore said: “We bought a number of Biofire test kits for our ships, but they were missing a critical containment hood that was needed to operate the system, which couldn’t be shipped for four to six weeks.

“We sent a drawing of the containment hood to PSNS & IMF, and in less than a week they had made two prototypes. We’re testing the second version now and we’ve already asked them to produce 30 more.”

The US Navy is receiving Covid-19 testing kits as per requirements. However, biocontainment systems are not yet readily available.  

Biocontainment systems are made from clear plastic sheeting with pass-through gloves attached.

The boxes have a sealable opening to place samples inside and feature a negative pressure air handling system.

The first prototype of the system has completed ship checks in San Diego.

Following the design finalisation, PSNS & IMF is scheduled to assemble 30 units. By the end of this week, the first ten units are anticipated to be transported to the fleet.

The requirements were defined by PSNS & IMF by working with the NAVSEA 04X3 Industrial Process Innovation Division.

Shop 64 trade superintendent Jason Beller said: “Shop 64, Sail Loft, manufactured the biocontainment systems.

“Shop 57, Piping Insulators, and Shop 99, Temporary Services, supported the negative ventilation portion of the system and several other codes assisted as well.”