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[Updated] TRIUMF community rallies in response to COVID-19 pandemic

05 May 2020

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, groups from across the TRIUMF community have mobilized to support a variety of health-focused initiatives.

(image: Chapman Lim, Detectors Technical and Development Support, adjusts the ventilator’s input pressure relief on TRIUMF's ventilator prototype (more below))

We’d like to take a moment to recognize these teams for their dedication and tireless work to improve and save lives, here in Canada and everywhere around the world.

  • [UPDATED] The Mechanical Ventilator Milano project: The objective of the MVM collaboration is to design, develop, certify, and build an open-source ventilator that is safe, powerful, yet gentle, on the lungs. The simplicity of the design allows for wider availability of parts and rapid manufacturing in different countries – in Canada, the collaboration includes TRIUMF, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and SNOLAB. The TRIUMF team, led by Eric Guetre, Reiner Kruecken, Kathryn Hayashi, and Pierre Amaudruz, Fabrice Retiere and Nicolas Massacret, has contributed across the board, including testing, certification, and design of the control module and associated software. Recently announced by the Prime Minister as an approved federal project, the collaboration’s initial goal is to produce a first batch of 1,000 units, then to increase capacity significantly, once broader certification is secured and the production chain is developed. In an important step for the MVM collaboration, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization for the MVM prototype in the United States. For the Canadian statement on this important development, please see here

  • Medical Isotope Production: With supply chains around the world disrupted by the pandemic, TRIUMF and BWXT continue to produce life-saving medical isotopes, including Sr-82 and F-18, for clinical use both here and abroad.

(image: TRIUMF produced mask straps that are reducing discomfort for Vancouver healthcare workers who must wear PPE for extended periods)

  • Manufacturing of PPETRIUMF’s manufacturing capacity is being donated to support projects from the UBC Applied Sciences faculty, including our CNC machines, water cutters, and several 3D printers, including:
    • A novel design for face mask straps that reduces discomfort for healthcare workers who must wear PPE for extended periods
    • The local production of face shields coordinated by the provincial government
  • SARS-CoV-2 analysis: TRIUMF’s ATLAS Tier-1 computing and theory clusters are assisting the investigation of how proteins fold within the larger SARS-CoV-2 virus. Related work is being carried out by a UBC team that is using their TRIUMF-based cryo-electron microscope to visualize virus structure at different stages of the entry process.
  • Support for UBC research projects: Several TRIUMF staff are supporting other grass roots efforts within various UBC research projects, including:
    • An additional ventilator project, the FlowO2 ­
    • A ‘bubble helmet’ ventilator prototype
    • A manifold to safely connect a single ventilator to more than one patient

Keep checking back on this page, as we’ll continue to update the list as these initiatives develop and others emerge as our community continues to find new and resourceful ways to combat to the COVID-19 pandemic.