TISTR’s Responses to COVID-19
Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) utilized its expertise in science, technology and innovation (STI) by conducting testing services of Negative Pressure Rooms at Siriraj Hospital in April 2020. The rooms were built for Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIR) which helped isolating COVID-19 patients and preventing the spread of Coronavirus in air transmission and infection.
Dr. Chutima Eamchotchawalit, Governor of TISTR said that we were glad that we were part of COVID-19 prevention and willing to collaborate in testing the Negative Pressure Rooms assigned by Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of MHESI. With the mission, TISTR combined its various expertise on the following tasks:
- Biodiversity Research Centre (BRC) was responsible for research and development, analysis and testing in microorganisms. It conducted microbial examination for air quality according to ISO 14698.
- Industrial Metrology and Testing Service Centre (MTC) provided services in testing and calibration of scientific measuring instruments. It conducted the measurement of air flow rate through the ventilatory areas using Air Velocity Meter and measurement of air differential pressure, temperature, and relative humidity.
- Material Properties Analysis and Development Centre (MPAD) was in charge of material and product testing, inspection, evaluation, and engineering consultancy services. It performed a particle leak test in order to evaluate the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system of Negative Pressure Rooms.
“The testing results of Negative Pressure Room at Siriraj Hospital has passed the criteria. It was considered as a concrete outcome that maximized the utilization of STI to alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19 which could ultimately create trust and safety for people”, Dr. Chutima said.
AIIR with air quality control was a single room for isolating COVID-19 patients. The pressure control in the AIIR was set to be lower than outside areas, so that the air in the AIIR not flowing out to the outside which could help preventing the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, the air flow rate measurement ensured proper air flow and controlled the growth of viruses. The measurement in temperature and humidity helped finding the right conditions for the health of patients during treatments. In addition, the air flowing out from AIIR must be highly efficient filtered and purified before releasing to outside areas.