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New Mobile Prototype of U of I's COVID-19 Testing Program

In response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,  researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed an innovative and comprehensive target, test, tell strategy to combat the pandemic, known as SHIELD.

November 6, 2020 | Urbana, IL

"Starting from the testing system used on our campus, our team is looking at everything from supply chain challenges, to IT needs, to human factors, to waste stream management, and much more.  The complexity of the effort is amazing, and the project represents the kind of innovative, translational research that The Grainger College of Engineering does so well."

--Rashid Bashir, Dean,
The Grainger College of Engineering

Abigail Woodridge, Abigail Wooldridge, right, who designed the Mobile SHIELD lab, watches over the arrival of the Mobile SHIELD trailer with Bob Ludtke, of SHIELD T3/visiting director of Engineering and Materials Management, outside the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building in Champaign on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.
Abigail Wooldridge, who designed the mobile lab, watches over the arrival of lab equipment inside the trailer in Champaign on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

To bring this testing capability to more communities in Illinois and the nation, a team led by Grainger College of Engineering faculty recently launched a project to scale mobile COVID-19 testing laboratories.

Turnaround time is particularly important to effective contact tracing and quarantine. Once SHIELD was created, the next step was to duplicate testing capabilities so society can reopen to a fuller extent, not just the UIUC campus.

A solution was needed on how to translate this really novel technology, this test, and make it more accessible so that testing can be done on location–in hot spots or schools or localized communities, etc. This project is to take the SHIELD test and make it mobile. The first deployment of a lab in a mobile unit will be for Bloom Energy in California. More announcements about future deployments are expected soon.

"There is a need for a large number of these mobile units across the country and maybe even across the world. What we’re doing in this project is designing and demonstrating one of these units. By the end of this project, we should know what equipment you need to purchase, how you need to lay it out, how you need to staff the lab, how it would run, logistics of collecting specimens and getting them to the unit; as well as what comes out of the unit in terms of waste, how information flows, and all those things we think about as industrial engineers."

Professor Abigail Wooldridge, Project Lead

Abigail Wooldridge Shares Details on

Designing a Mobile Prototype Lab for

 COVID-19 Testing

 

Contact us about the pilot mobile testing lab

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"The mobile testing prototype is a shining example of the excellent and impactful research done in The Grainger College of Engineering.  Prof. Wooldridge’s team is optimizing the logistics, processes, and procedures needed to convert a brick-and-mortar testing lab into a smaller, mobile platform that can then be replicated and rapidly deployed to hundreds of sites around the state and the country."

Harley Johnson, Associate Dean for Research, The Grainger College of Engineering

"When you get the right team
with the right blend
of backgrounds and expertise,
you can make magic happen.”

Prof. Abigail Wooldridge

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Working fast to layout the mobileSHIELD lab dimensions in the Agricultural Engineering Sciences Building at UIUC.

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The planned flow chart for how saliva samples will move through the mobileSHIELD lab.

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More details on the plan for building the lab. 

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Prof. Wooldridge compares the digital design with the full-size layout of the mobile unit. 

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Prof. Wooldridge, right, who designed the mobileSHIELD lab, watches over the arrival of the trailer with Bob Ludtke, of SHIELD T3/visiting director of Engineering and Materials Management, outside the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building in Champaign.

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Abigail Wooldridge, center, who leads the Illinois mobileSHIELD Team, watches over the arrival of the Mobile Shield trailer with Bob Ludtke, Bob Ludtke, of Shield T3/visiting director of Engineering and Materials Management, and Kaitlyn Hale-Lopez, far left, first semester Ph.D student in ISE and member of Wooldridge's research group, outside the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building in Champaign on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Wooldridge is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering.

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UIUC Facilities & Services employees move in equipment to the trailer in preparation for getting the lab up and running. 

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Expected Numbers for Mobile Testing Prototype Lab

1

Trailer

10,000+

Tests a day

<8

Hours

 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COVID-19 RESPONSE IN THE NEWS


TEAM PARTNERS

 

Discovery Partners
Institute (DPI)

Worked to expand the testing of saliva-based COVID-19 that was pioneered by the University of Illinois researchers.

Health Care Engineering Systems Center (HCESC)

Led community outreach by researching what communication and coordination should happen with community before, during, and after deployment of a mobile lab.

Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering (ISE)

Project led by ISE professor Abigail Wooldridge to solve the problem of making a stationary COVID-19 testing lab mobile in order to solve an enormous problem of access to testing.

National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)

Led data flow and IT for developing the LIMS (or LIS) for the lab and planning information flow from collection sites and out of the lab (e.g., to public health and others), etc.

SHIELD T3


Helped with operation support and design and laboratory expertise in the design and operations of the COVID-19 mobile lab.

SHIELD Illinois



A saliva testing program and infrastructure that deploys the University of Illinois’ innovative saliva test across the state.