Articles and Updates

GCHS Explores Innovative Istari System

The Isolation System for Treatment and Agile Response for high-risk Infections (ISTARI) is a modular, disposable, airborne isolation patient care system that can strengthen the infection and prevention strategies used against the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, it was designed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in response to the 2014-2015 Ebola virus epidemic. Currently, the Global Center for Health Security (GCHS) is working with Otherlab engineers to optimize the ISTARI design for specific use in the COVID-19 pandemic. The GCHS’s intent is to provide an inexpensive, lightweight isolation care system that can be quickly manufactured and easily deployed in all health care settings with minimal training while meeting or exceeding industry safety standards.

ISTARI is designed to allow for critical care of patients with severe respiratory infections, including invasive mechanical intubation, while being compatible with standard medical utilities in a built hospital room. It can be used in existing hospital rooms—with no need for modifications—or in temporary surge spaces with portable utilities. ISTARI enables hospitals and health care facilities to overcome many infection prevention and control challenges:

  • Low cost negative air pressure isolation care
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Minimal training required
  • Drastically reduces or eliminates need for personal protective equipment
  • Manufactured quickly
  • Enables patient to receive visitors
  • Minimizes nosocomial transmission

The GCHS is conducting early design tests on ISTARI at their state-of-the-art Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center located inside the Davis Global Center at UNMC. Results of testing will drive the revision and production of a prototype ready to be rolled out to community hospitals for further testing; after which, protocol development for rapid patient isolation and care in front line healthcare settings will be established and provided to end users at healthcare facilities. Small-scale production will provide an opportunity for feedback and necessary adjustments before launching large-scale production. Once large-scale production begins, units will be provided nationwide as a low-cost, effective way to isolate patients with COVID-19 or other highly infectious diseases.

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