Imperial College of London has published the results of an epidemiological model showing what our future might look like as we try to contain and fight the Covid-19 outbreak. This model has been used to inform policymaking in the UK and other countries as they devise plans to battle the outbreak. What could these policies mean for those people who are trying to run laboratories and manufacturing facilities?
It seems the most likely outcome from the modeling is that societies around the world will need to keep enacting some form of social distancing and shutdowns for the foreseeable future until an effective vaccine is found. Most experts think a vaccine is at least 18 months away.
The model is based on recent data from countries like South Korea and China showing that isolation does, in fact, slow down the transmission of the virus. Realistically we can’t all isolate ourselves forever. As people begin to go back to work and school the number of infected people and people needing intensive care will begin to rise again.
What the authors envision is a scenario in which isolation is used as a tool to allow the healthcare system to be able to handle the number of infected people. As the number of people requiring ICU care eclipses a certain threshold (the orange line), isolation techniques are put into place (the blue boxes) to prevent further spread of the virus and to keep down the number of patients needing hospital care. As the number of ICU patients peaks and then starts to decline past a certain point, then isolation requirements can be eased. In this way we can balance the capacity of the healthcare industry with the need to keep the economy functioning.
The modeling presents a variety of scenarios and potential outcomes depending upon how stringent isolation schemes are, but the big takeaway is that isolation in some form is probably going to be required, at least cyclically, for approximately a year or more. So what does this mean for someone tasked with running a laboratory or manufacturing facility?
The Lab of the (near) Future
Simplistically it probably means that you and your team are not going to be onsite 100% of the time going forward. In fact, several likely scenarios show 2 weeks of isolation followed by one week of relative freedom. Despite the details of the scenario chosen, it seems a reasonable bet that many people will be working from home quite a bit more often until a vaccine is developed.
Laboratories are not easy things to run from afar because you are not there to react to any and all changes taking place. Having a system in place that allows you to remotely monitor your laboratory and the equipment in it will be an invaluable tool to have in the near future. We have numerous examples of mistakes, power failures and other mishaps that have jeopardized millions of dollars worth of equipment and assets in cold storage, incubators and other areas. Doesn’t it make sense to be safe rather than sorry?
A remote monitoring and alerting platform like the Elemental Machines platform is ideal for the Lab of the (near) Future because it:
Is quick and easy to deploy
Requires no wires
Runs even when the power is out
Has Wifi with cellular backup
Sends alerts to your cell phone
Can distribute alerts to your team as needed. Alert rules are easily configurable
Makes data accessible through the Cloud (from your living room couch)
Stores data for quality and regulatory systems (CFR compliant)
Is easily expandable. Additional monitoring points can be added in one minute
Why wait? Prepare for the future of remote work now by trying out our platform risk free. Learn why more than half of the top multinational pharmaceutical companies in the USA already trust Elemental Machines with their most valuable assets.