Shipping container ICU moves from drawing board to hospital in weeks
We recently reported on a plan to use shipping containers to create intensive care units (ICUs) to aid in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Now, just a few weeks later, the conceptual design has been turned into an actual prototype unit that's installed in a temporary hospital in Turin, Italy.
Each CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments) is built using a modified shipping container. The idea is that it offers an improvement over standard hospital tents as it creates negative room pressure like a brick-and-mortar hospital (negative pressure enables air to flow in but not out, helping mitigate the risk of further virus spread), while remaining relatively easy to transport.
The project is led by Italian architecture firm Carlo Ratti Associati, but involves a large team, including Italo Rota, engineering firm Jacobs, health tech firm Philips, graphic designers, doctors, and more, and is sponsored by UniCredit.
This first prototype model is built from a standard container, so measures 20 ft (6.1 m) in length, and is fitted with two glass windows, which could potentially allow visitors to see their family members, says Carlo Ratti Associati. The container is connected to a large inflatable structure that serves as a storage and changing room. The inflatable section could also be used to join additional shipping container units if required.
The prototype model is installed in a hospital in a former industrial complex in Turin, northern Italy, which has approximately 90 beds for patients affected by COVID-19. The container hosts all the equipment needed for two ICU patients, such as ventilators, monitors, IV stands, and so on, and went into service a few days ago.
Since CURA's launch in late March, over 2,000 people have been in touch to join the project, reproduce it, or provide technical expertise. Additional CURA units are currently under construction in other parts of the world, such as the United Arab Emirates and Canada.
Source: Carlo Ratti Associati