This week, special tests were carried out in Brasschaat and Arlon. Indeed, engineers and biomedical specialists of the Belgium Defense meticulously evaluated a new mobile laboratory. It should leave for Senegal next August.
The mobile laboratory is a project from the Praesens Fund, recognized by the King Baudouin Foundation. In the midst of the Ebola virus outbreak, Dr Rudi Pauwels observed laboratories working in the field of Sierra Leone. He found that they needed better support, rapidly deployable resources and innovative diagnostic methods to work effectively in remote areas.
With the Praesens Fund's support, he wishes to allow and promote the use of molecular diagnostics in deprived areas, to help increase the response speed in epidemics, and to help better control the risks. Some sponsors helped the Fund, which was able in one year to build a mobile laboratory based on a 6x6 vehicle.
Currently, the practical, operational and technical aspects of the mobile laboratory are tested: vehicle, isolator cabinet, generator, satellite communications, etc.
The logistics approach, the training of local health workers, the acceptance and cooperation of patients, and the sustainability of the technology are studied simultaneously.
The Fund received the approval of the Belgium Defense to carry out the field tests over military areas. They took place on July 11th in Brasschaat and on July 14th in the Lagland camp of Arlon. They were under the supervision and advice of specialists from the Centre d'Évaluation du Matériel (CEM) and from the Centre de Compétence Matériel Roulant et Armement (CC R & A)
Specialists from the Defense Laboratories (Center for Applied Molecular Technologies - Biothreats Unit Laboratory: CTMA/DLD-Bio) used the laboratory in the case of a simulated blood sample analysis. Their field experience in a mobile biological laboratory, used during the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea, allowed them to be good advisors.
Next August, the mobile laboratory will leave by ship to Dakar, Senegal. From September 2017 to February 2018, the Fund will test the technical and operational aspects of the new mobile laboratory, with the close collaboration of the local Pasteur Institute. Their results will lead to subsequent adjustments of the platform and its working methods.